is a 1999 American comedy-drama
film written and directed by Lawrence Kasdan
. It is set in a small town where a new psychologist
) gives offbeat advice to the neurotic
residents. Both the psychologist and the town are named Mumford, a coincidence that eventually figures in the plot.
The film co-stars Hope Davis
, Jason Lee
, Alfre Woodard
, Mary McDonnell
, Martin Short
, and Ted Danson
and was the film debut of Zooey Deschanel
. It also features future Dancing with the Stars
alum and winner Kelly Monaco
in a small (non-speaking) role.
As a relative newcomer to town, Dr. Mumford (Loren Dean
) seems charming and skillful to his neighbors and patients. His unique, frank approach to psychotherapy
soon attracts patients away from the two therapists (David Paymer
and Jane Adams
) already working in the area.
Soon he is treating a variety of conditions, ranging from one man's attachment to dime-store erotic novels to an unhappy woman's compulsive shopping. Mumford befriends a billionaire computer mogul (Jason Lee
) and a cafe waitress (Woodard) and he attempts to play matchmaker. He also begins to fall for a patient (Hope Davis
) who suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome
Together with an attorney (Martin Short
), a patient Mumford had rejected because of his narcissism, the rival therapists conspire to find skeletons in Mumford's closet, hoping to destroy his reputation. And there are indeed skeletons galore, as a confidante of Mumford's soon finds out.