|Nothing to Crowe about, but worth seeing|
Before he was the "Gladiator,"
Russell Crowe fought the ice wars in ...
Reviewed by Carlos deVillalvilla
(Click on the images to see larger version and credits.)
From TV's current flavor of the month David E. Kelley comes the town of Mystery, a small settlement amid the magnificent scenery of Alaska. There isn't much to do there, so an awful lot of fornicating goes on. There is also a weekly hockey game that involves the young men of the town playing against one another on the town pond. The wide open space of the pond breeds tremendous skaters, guys who take flight on ice.
It also attracts the attention of Sports Illustrated writer Charlie Danner (Hank Azaria), who is actually an ex-townie who was never well-liked. He calls them the best pond-hockey players in the world, and arranges a game with the NHL's New York Rangers (like that would happen). And, predictably, this energizes the town and it's somewhat quirky inhabitants.
There's the passionate, but somewhat befuddled lawyer (Maury Chaykin) who sits on the town's hockey committee, and loves Mystery perhaps more than anyone else. There's the crusty but good-hearted mayor (Colm Meaney). There's the curmudgeonly judge who wants nothing to do with the game (Burt Reynolds). There's also the libidinous defenseman (Ron Eldard) who has more cojones than sense. Finally, there's Sheriff John Biebe (Russell Crowe), who is a veteran of the Saturday game recently demoted, now the reluctant coach of the team.
The success of "Mystery, Alaska" lies in creating a mood, and that is done rather well. Take away the unbelievable scenario and the sports-film cliches and you'd have a mighty good movie. Those obstacles, alas, are too difficult to overcome and this becomes just a pretty good movie.
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See cast, credit and other details about "Mystery, Alaska" at Internet Movie Data Base.