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Welcome to Mooseport

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In the opening scene, the various residents of Mooseport extend cheerful Main Street greetings to a middle-aged nude jogger -- meaning that moratorium I suggested on comedies that take place in pretty little towns inhabited by delightfully quirky natives (and dear god, an actual roaming pet moose!) has been ignored again. Former U.S. President "Eagle" Cole (Gene Hackman) -- and his entourage of control freaks headed up by Marcia Gay Harden and Fred Savage -- is moving to town. Cole wastes no time getting into a mayoral race/pissing contest with local plumber Handy (Ray Romano, in his big-screen debut), the real prize of which is the affections of the peevish town vet, Sally (Maura Tierney). Hackman and Harden are a pleasure to watch, even if they're just barely coasting here; Romano is advised to stick to the small screen. Donald Petrie's film aims for where Frank Capra used to excel -- politically buzzed comedies about the integrity of the little guy and the triumph of folksy over slick and big-city. But like the Eagle's "hilarious" golf game, it falls way short of the green. Mooseport is inoffensive, if far too long at nearly two hours, but these days there's undoubtedly better political laughs and surprises on CNN. Two cameras

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