There's one almost every year, a terrific film that deserves to be at least a minor-league hit but passes unnoticed by the audience, unloved by the critics, and undersold by the studio. Such a picture is this likable small town comedy from writer/director Lawrence Kasdan. Loren Dean is just one of the diverse, well-chosen actors here, each of whom is perfect for his or her role, the sort of cast that only a highly intelligent filmmaker would assemble, the unifying factors between them being skill and a likeable quality. A number of oddball curves are thrown by Kasdan's loopy narrative but viewers are in the hands of an accomplished storyteller here, and every plot thread pays off or comes full circle by the end. Even the wildest confabulations of the plot (the most incredible one coming courtesy of Robert Stack and the TV show Unsolved Mysteries) don't bend the mind too much out of whack here, thanks to a consistency of mood and style that is the hallmark of a reliable filmmaker. Like any artist who's been around for a while, he's had well-deserved hits and misses, but Mumford (1999) goes down as Lawrence Kasdan's most unfairly ignored effort to date.
by Karl Williams review