Starring: Burt Reynolds, Hank Azaria,
Russell Crowe, mary McCormack,
Lolita Davidovich, & Ron
Genre: Sports Drama
Distributor: Hollywood Pictures/Buena Vista
Director: M. Jay Roach
Producer: Howard Baldwin, Karen Elise
Baldwin & David E. Kelley
Writer: David E. Kelley & Sean O'Byrne
Address Comments To:
At the heart of the story, John Biebe (the incredible Russsel Crowe) is the most stable member of "the Saturday game" in Mystery, Alaska, a hockey loving town of only 633 people. Almost everybody in Mystery, Alaska learns how to play hockey at the youngest possible age. A Sports Illustrated article claims that the game they play on Saturdays with four men on a side, no boards and few rules are the roots of the professional hockey being played in the big cities south of Alaska. An expatriate of the town wrote the Sports Illustrated story on the game, and arranges a match between the Mystery, Alaska team and the New York Rangers.
The mayor and most of the population think this will be good for the town, but John knows that this could tear the heart out of the town if they are embarrassed. He confronts the expatriate writer named Charles Danner, played by Hank Azaria, on his motives. Did Charles want to put Mystery, Alaska on the map? Or, did he want to embarrass them because he was an outcast when he was a young man growing up in the community?
John is a bright light of virtue and integrity in this dysfunctional town of misfits. When his three-year-old son curses, he complains about the language of the hockey team, but no one else seems to care. In fact, the team thinks that the foul language is pretty funny, and one of them even describes his sexual exploits with an overweight woman by making slurpy sucking sounds. This teammate, who knows his life is going nowhere, makes a point of fornicating with every woman in the town.
Charles, meanwhile, has always had a crush on Johns' wife, Donna. He really comes back to try to get her to leave with him, but, after a period of indecision, she stands by her man.
The other ray-of-light is judge Walter Burns, played by Burt Reynolds, who seems a little stern and stringent but really has the best interest of the town at heart.
Therefore, at the root of this movie is a good heart and a few good people with good values, but this ensemble piece involves the rest of the team, the adulterous mayor's wife, the fornicating player, and the store clerk who shoots a man in the foot. The rest of the town is made up of offbeat characters who indulge in foul language and foul deeds.
Perhaps, this is how the producers thought they could make a sweet MIGHTY DUCKS movie into a cutting edge film. Maybe the producers think that the children who liked the MIGHTY DUCKS when they were little now want some foul flavoring on their pond.
Perhaps, the heart of the movie will carry the day. Those who like their story of courage set in more decent, small, American town, however, will be turned off by this debouched community. It is hard to believe that Mystery, Alaska exists, but, if it does, it is doubtful that many people will be putting it on their vacation schedule.