I tend to like Chevy Chase, so I've seen many of his movies over the years. I recently watched Modern Problems again for the first time in years.
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Air traffic controller Max Fielder arrives home from work one evening to an answering machine message from his girlfriend Darcy. She is leaving him because she's tired of his jealousy. Max is very upset by that, and it just gets worse when he keeps seeing Darcy around with another man. One night when Max is driving home, nuclear waste falls on his car, and through the open sunroof, getting on him. The next day, Max discovers that he has telekinesis. Max decides to use his new power to try to get Darcy back while also dealing with people he sees as enemies or rivals.
Time is taken during the first several minutes of Modern Problems to introduce Max and show that he seems to have some bad luck with some things. He really isn't that happy of a person, and that seems to have played in somewhat with Darcy's decision, along with his jealousy issues. Several scenes are devoted to the telekinesis and what Max does once he realizes his new power. There are attempts to add some complications to what is going on, though things aren't that complicated overall.
Modern Problems is a comedy. Several things that happen are funny, though the movie isn't one that I consider hilarious. A lot of the comedy comes from the things that Max does once he has the telekinetic powers. Some of what he does is a bit silly, but it works for the movie overall. Dorita, the voodoo practicing maid that works for Max's friend Brian, also adds some humor with the odd things she does.
There are some special effects in Modern Problems, tied to the telekinetic powers that Max develops. After he is covered in the nuclear waste, he glows green for a while. When he uses the power, various things float or fly around him. Later in the movie he is briefly seen green again. The special effects are fine, though nothing that special. In a few scenes, it is clear that a blue or green screen has been used. The special effects are needed for the movie to work. There is a bit of a science fiction feel to the movie because of Max developing the powers. People should keep an open mind to be able to fully enjoy the movie.
The relationship between Max and Darcy receives a lot of attention throughout Modern Problems. It comes out at the beginning of the movie that Max has been getting jealous of the men that Darcy meets for her work and she is tired of it. Even with the attention the relationship receives, not much with it is shown, but it doesn't seem to be the most stable. He does manage to get her back into bed at one point, and a kind of odd sex scene takes place in which Max uses his telekinetic power. Brian ends up hooking up with Lorraine, Max's ex-wife, right after they meet. Mark, an arrogant self-help type author, starts hitting on Darcy, and even gets naked in front of her at one point. I really could have done without seeing Dabney Coleman's back backside. There really isn't much romance in the movie despite all the relationship stuff.
None of the characters in Modern Problems are that developed. Max is almost always a bit sad and at times, he has trouble controlling his anger. It makes sense that Darcy has issues with him and the relationship. He does act like a jerk every so often, though he is nice enough overall. Chevy Chase is fine in the part.
Darcy doesn't receive much attention at all. She is nice, though she does seem slightly flighty a few times. There isn't anything special about the character. Patti D'Arbanville is fine in the part. Lorraine is Max's ex-wife and the two of them are still friends. Their relationship seems much more stable than the one he has with Darcy. Lorraine is nice and Mary Kay Place is fine in the part even though she doesn't get that much to do overall.
Brian is in a few scenes, and he seems nice enough, but Brian Doyle-Murray doesn't get much to do. Mark has written some self-help books and he's some kind of therapist. He's also a huge, arrogant, jerk. He knows Brian, which is how he meets Max and Darcy. Mark starts hitting on Darcy almost immediately, and he won't take no for an answer. He's not likable at all, but Dabney Coleman does a good job with the part. Dorita is Brian's maid who does voodoo and tries to deal with some odd things that happen at one point. Nell Carter is fine in the part.
Nell Carter - Dorita
Chevy Chase - Max
Dabney Coleman - Mark
Patti D'Arbanville - Darcy
Brian Doyle-Murray - Brian
Mary Kay Place - Lorraine
Ken Shapiro - Director
I have only seen Modern Problems on television when I've found it on different channels that I get. It was on one of the HBO channels when I watched the movie this time. I think the movie is available on DVD, but I don't know what sort of extras it has.
Modern Problems doesn't have the strongest plot, but the movie is entertaining. Fans of Chevy Chase may find something to like.
Chevy Chase Movie Reviews
Cops and Robbersons ~ Fletch ~ Fletch Lives ~ Foul Play ~ National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation ~ National Lampoon's European Vacation ~ National Lampoon's Vacation ~ Spies Like Us ~ Vegas Vacation ~ Zoom ~