Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Milwaukee, Minnesota

The name Milwaukee, Minnesota intrigued me. Does this town actually exist or does this name have some deeper meaning. The film takes place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The name and description were a good enough hook to get me to watch. I do not remember seeing this film when it was in theaters. As a rental, this film offers decent feel-good entertainment for an hour and a half.

Albert Burroughs (Troy Garity) talks to fish. They reveal to him their secrets, making Albert Burroughs the “idiot savant” of ice fishing. Burroughs has won thousands of dollars participating in ice fishing tournaments in Wisconsin. He could probably earn more, but his overprotective mother Edna (Debra Monk) won’t let him travel anywhere. Edna wants Albert to depend only on her. Edna detests the fact that Albert’s boss, Sean McNally (Bruce Dern), allows Albert to deal with customers in his print shop. The conniving Edna tells McNally that Albert won't be back while advising Albert that he has been fired.

The death of Albert’s mother coincides with the arrival of several outsiders to their small community. These newcomers provide some misdirection regarding Edna’s death, while allowing Albert to explore his independence and demonstrate his extraordinary cunning. Although Albert is functionally limited due to an unstated mental deficiency, his ability to outsmart the people around him endears him to the audience.

Milwaukee, Minnesota takes a slow deliberate approach to reveal small plot details in this well constructed feel-good drama. The pacing in this film creeps along as interesting and eccentric characters take the audience along on a journey of discovery. The film is part coming-of-age for a mentally deficient adult and part whodunit. The details emerge one nugget at a time in a well choreographed script. Richard Murphy provides rich details in this story that help the characters connect with the audience.

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