From writer/director Lawrence Kasdan, the creator of Body Heat, The Big Chill, Silverado, The Accidental Tourist and Grand Canyon. When a wanna-be psychologist, curiously named Mumford (Loren Dean, Space Cowboys) comes to the idyllic town of the same name, he offers his talent for listening and a disarming frankness as the town’s quirkiest citizens scramble for a seat on his couch. As he lightens hearts darkened by old secrets—including those of the beautiful and troubled Sofie Crisp (Hope Davis, About Schmidt)—no one realizes he’s hiding a whopper of his own, or that he’s fallen head over heels for one of his patients. Filled with personality disorders, surprises, offbeat alliances and some hilarious fantasies, Mumford is just what the laugh doctor ordered. The wonderful cast includes Jason Lee (Chasing Amy), Mary McDonnell (Dances with Wolves), David Paymer (Get Shorty), Martin Short (¡Three Amigos!), Pruitt Taylor Vince (Wild at Heart), Alfre Woodard (Cross Creek), Jane Adams (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Priscilla Barnes (TV’s Three’s Company), Ted Danson (TV’s Cheers), Zooey Deschanel (500 Days of Summer), Elisabeth Moss (TV’s The Handmaid’s Tale), Robert Stack (Airplane!) and Kevin Tighe (Road House).
As embodied by Alan Bates, Butley falls back on the surgically precise wit and savage eloquence that helped put him in his current circumstances in the first place. The blitzkrieg of vitriolic commentary with which Butley engages lovers, students, rivals, and allies, all with equal ferocity, becomes a glass bottom boat illuminating the churning depths of his bankrupted soul. Acclaimed playwright Harold Pinter, in what Time Magazine hailed as “a quite superior directorial debut,” turns author Simon Gray’s single-set, dialogue driven stage play into an irresistible dynamic visual experience that tracks Bates’ hilarious and fearless performance with cunning precision.
Bates and an expert supporting cast, including OscarÃ‚Â® winner Jessica Tandy (Driving Miss Daisy), joust with a sly, self-referencing wit and an unselfconscious exuberance that is breathtaking. With every verbal parry and valedictory flourish of wordplay, Butley’s life becomes more of an inescapable bear trap of thwarted ambition, clandestine affection, and squandered brilliance.