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Film / Mumford

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Mrs. Crisp: What kind of doctor are you?
Dr. Mumford: Ph.D. in psychology.
Mrs. Crisp: Oh. Not a real doctor.

Mumford is a 1999 comedy-drama film written and directed by Lawrence Kasdan.

Dr. Mumford (Loren Dean) is a psychologist who lives in the small town of Mumford. He has a thriving practice with a number of patients, including a woman addicted to shopping (Mary McDonnell), a high school girl with an eating disorder (Zooey Deschanel), a drug store owner with a perverse fantasy life (Pruitt Taylor Vince), and a billionaire software developer who simply wants Mumford to be friends with him (Jason Lee). One day, Dr. Mumford gets a visit from Sofie Crisp (Hope Davis), a woman who's suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. He and Sofie soon develop feelings for one another, which of course, is against all professional ethics for psychologists. Except that Dr. Mumford isn't really a psychologist...

While the film received good reviews, it wasn't a big hit upon release, but has since gained somewhat of a cult following. Not to be confused with Mumford & Sons, or The Amazing Mumford from Sesame Street.

This film contains examples of the following:

  • As Himself: Robert Stack appears as himself, hosting a segment of Unsolved Mysteries dealing with Mumford's real identity.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Skip is a bit...eccentric, but he's also a brilliant scientist and a Benevolent Boss.
  • Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story: All of the people who "taught" or supervised Dr. Mumford are dead, which makes Dr. Sheeler suspicious.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Dr. Mumford can be this at times, as can Sofie, but Lily and Nessa are especially this way.
  • Dime Novel: Henry's fantasy life and dreams seem to come out of these.
  • Epiphany Therapy: Played straight with Althea and Henry, but averted with Sofie and Skip. Then again, considering Mumford isn't really a psychologist...
    • Also, in Althea's case, she's the one who comes up with the epiphany. Generally speaking, Mumford's method, except for Sofie to an extent, is "Heal thyself" (though not in those words).
  • Foreshadowing: When Althea asks if Mumford has any skeletons in his closet, Mumford admits, "A few." Also, when her husband asks if Mumford knows anything about addiction, he replies, "A little."
  • Good-Times Montage: We see all of Mumford's patients (and friends like Lily) being happy while Bob Seger's "Till it Shines" plays.
  • Here We Go Again!: As Mumford is being driven to prison, the police officer starts talking about his problems with his wife, and it looks like even though Mumford's lost his license, he's still going to continue being a shrink of sorts.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Lily protests to Mumford there's nothing between her and Skip, saying, "I'm old enough to be his...older sister."
  • May–December Romance: A gender-flipped one develops between Lily and Skip.
  • Mistaken for Gay: When Skip hears Mumford has fallen in love with one of his patients, he asks, "It's not me, is it?"
  • No Name Given: We never find out Mumford's real name.
  • Pet the Dog: Even though Lionel is the one who convinces Dr. Sheeler to investigate Mumford, he's the one who's defending Mumford at his trial, and who assures Mumford he can get his sentence reduced.
  • Shout-Out: Lily has a dog named Ainge, named after Danny Ainge, a former player for the Boston Celtics.
  • Smug Snake: Lionel and Jeremy.
  • That Came Out Wrong:
    Sofie:' (after finding out the truth about Dr. Mumford) I should be irate with you.
    Dr. Mumford: *Should* be?
    Sofie: (realizing) I *am* irate!
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Mumford doesn't confess to Skip, and the viewer, that's he's not a real psychologist until about halfway through the movie, but that confession is a major part of the trailer.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: When we find out Dr. Mumford's previous life.
  • Verbal Backspace: After Mumford asks Henry why his wife left him:
    Henry: She couldn't satisfy me.
    Mumford: WHAT?!?
    Henry: I mean, I wasn't satisfied.