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From Academy Award(R)-nominated writer/director Lawrence Kasdan (BODY HEAT, THE BIG CHILL) comes this endearing romantic comedy. Starring a first-rate ensemble cast -- including Ted Danson (SAVING PRIVATE RYAN), Martin Short (FATHER OF THE BRIDE), Mary McDonnell (INDEPENDENCE DAY), Jason Lee (DOGMA), and Alfre Woodard (DOWN IN THE DELTA) -- MUMFORD is sure to win your heart with its charm and wit. When a would-be psychologist, curiously named Dr. Mumford (Loren Dean, ENEMY OF THE STATE), comes to the idyllic town of the same name and offers his talent for listening and a disarming frankness, the town's quirkiest citizens scramble for a seat on his couch. As he lightens hearts darkened by old secrets -- including those of the beautiful and troubled Sofie Crisp (Hope Davis, ARLINGTON ROAD) -- no one realizes he's hiding a whopper of his own, or that he's fallen head over heels for one of his patients! Filled with personality disorders, surprises, offbeat alliances, and some hilarious fantasies, MUMFORD is just what the laugh doctor ordered.
Loren Dean, a pleasant, attractive actor who seems to fall seamlessly into the background of every film he's in (Gattaca, Enemy of the State, Apollo 13), is perfectly cast in Mumford as a psychologist (named Mumford) who wanders into a small town (named Mumford) and suddenly fits seamlessly into everybody's rhythms and routines. Balancing a no-nonsense approach with a keen ability to listen sincerely to everyone's problems (with the exception of a snotty lawyer, played by Martin Short), he's a friendly, approachable blank slate for all those who come to visit him. And while he's tending to the shopaholic housewife (Mary McDonnell), the pulp-fantasizing pharmacist (Pruitt Taylor Vince), and the anorexic teenager (Zooey Deschanel), no one seems to give a second thought to who the man is behind the therapeutic face, not even his slightly sardonic neighbor (Alfre Woodard). It's not until he befriends a sweetly daft computer billionaire (Jason Lee) and starts treating a chronically fatigued young woman (Hope Davis) that his past--or rather, lack of one--starts coming into play, for it turns out that Mumford is not exactly who he says he is.
Less a mystery than an affectionate, perfectly modulated character study, Mumford easily represents writer-director Lawrence Kasdan's best work in a decade. While the plot seems whimsically Capra-esque and the dialogue sometimes stilted, it's so carefully and quietly directed that its good will and gentle spirit seem to float lightly off the screen. Kasdan hasn't created such engaging characters since The Big Chill, and all are winning without seeming artificial. Most amazing is Davis, who manages to invest a woman suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome with an inner glow that slowly becomes brighter as the film progresses. And Dean, as the enigmatic Mumford, may have finally found his breakthrough role; after years as an also-ran, he finally emerges as a solid, charming leading man. After Mumford, you won't forget his name, or face. --Mark Englehart
- Making Of Featurette
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Loren Dean, Hope Davis... haven't seen these actors in a film in a long time.
Early film for Zooey Deschanel, didn't recognize her until seeing this film again in 2015. Plays a really skinny messed up magazine model wannabe. Interesting performance.
Elisabeth Moss... didn't realize she was in the film until the credits rolled by...
I liked Loren Dean...he's new to me...maybe he's from the Walken family? ie: I love Chris, Nick Cage, Jason Leigh, Depp. When I see them in the credits, I don't expect someone who'd only like John Wayne movies, to give it a thumbs up; but I'm pretty sure to give it two of 'em! This is one of those high-five, two-thumbs-up reviews. Those who don't like it, go see your own kind of "boxed-set" flick. As for the reviewer, who mentioned the flashing of boobs..huh? They'd probably try to shield their kid's eyes from Dolly Parton, in 9 to 5, or Betty Boop...c'mon!..instead of cartoon depictions, it was only human characterizations of the cartoon aspects of society. Truth in jest...irony...satire...Not blatant, but understated, for those of us who don't need to be hit over the head to have a point made. More's not enuff of these movies, for me. The whole family can watch and be entertained, at different levels. Smart Movie Making. Keep 'em coming.
Strangely, Dr Mumford, (Loren Dean), while the center of the story, is the least unusual character in the film. Typical of Lawrence Kasdan's scripts, the main cast is large and yet well fleshed out. In a way, because we meet most of them within the setting of a psychologist's office, their problems seem more real. At least there, one is expected to lay problems out for an audience. It seems so much more natural than the traditional emotional breakdown or a verbal outpouring to a stranger in a bar.
For the record we get to know a pharmacist with vivid soft-porn fantasies, a wealthy housewife with a shopping compulsion, a tough teenage girl suffering with esteem issues, a fatigued woman forced under the care of her domineering mother and a wealth but friendless inventor who is obsessed with creating a mechanical solution to his loneliness. Even the non-patients are fascinating despite having smaller roles. I particularly like Martin Short's lawyer and Ted Danson's work-a-holic father.
Compared to the other therapists in town, Mumford is a breath of fresh air. He won't put up with [anything] from his clients and it is very enjoyable to watch him kick the local Lawyer out of his office during their first session, apparently just for being a self centered jackass. In another departure from tradition, the Doc makes little attempt to hold his clients confessions in confidence; at least not from Skip, the town's young, eccentric billionaire. But to be fair, Mumford doesn't keep his own secrets from Skip either, and as we find out eventually, his secrets are much more interesting than those his patients reluctantly divulge.
The pace of the film is relatively slow but Kasdan is such a skilled storyteller that I would have been happy if it had never stopped. However, change is inevitable and in Dr. Mumford's case change takes the shape of a winsome yet beautiful patient named Sofie, who has been plagued by chronic fatigue syndrome for years. This is not one of those cookie cutter romances, dropped into the film to keep the female audience happy. As flexible as Mumford's profession ethics are, he can't bring himself to express his growing love for his patient, even after she confesses her feeling for him. It is this dilemma that forces Mumford to take a big step in his life.
"Mumford" is a film for voyeurs and for anyone interested in people. You get the feeling that, Despite their flaws, everyone in the film is worth knowing. Perhaps that is the message Kasdan is trying to deliver. Everybody has a story to tell, if only you dig far enough. And who better to do the digging than a psychologist with his own unique story to tell.
This movie is.... well, that thing.
Hard to put my finger on why I like it, but I do and find it a nice easy going movie with a few plot twists in it that leaves me smiling every time I watch it.
Some parts are of course a bit far fetched, but then again, it's sort of a fantasy put in the real world.
It is a sort of punchline type film, so saying too much would spoil the experience. (BUT, it's worth watching again, punchline and stuff that happens as a result are still amusing.