A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
I knew a very good poker player who always lost money at bachelor parties. He'd turn a profit in Vegas, but down in the basement with the beer and the cigar smoke he invariably got cleaned out. The reason, he explained, was that the jerks he was playing against didn't know how to play poker. They bet on every hand. They raised when they should have folded. You couldn't tell when they were bluffing because they knew so little they were always bluffing.
Gene Hackman plays a character like that in "Welcome to Mooseport." The movie isn't about poker but the principle is the same. He is a former president of the United States who has moved to a colorful Maine hamlet and suddenly finds himself running for mayor. His problem is, he knows way too much about politics to run for mayor of Mooseport. And way too little about Mooseport.
Hackman is one of the most engaging actors on the face of the earth. He's especially good at bluster. "The Eagle has landed," he declares, arriving in town. His name is Monroe "The Eagle" Cole, and don't forget the nickname. His opponent in the race is Handy Harrison (Ray Romano), a plumber who owns the local hardware store. "Let me get this straight," says The Eagle. "I'm running for mayor against the man who is repairing my toilet?"
There are romantic complications. Handy has been dating local beauty Sally Mannis (Maura Tierney) for seven years, without ever having gotten up the nerve to pop the question. As the movie opens, his face lights up with joy as he races over to tell her he's come into some money, and so the time is finally right to ... buy that pickup. When The Eagle asks her out to dinner, she accepts.