'Milwaukee, Minnesota'

Champion of more than a dozen ice-fishing tournaments, but still living with his domineering mother (Debra Monk), twentysomething Albert (Troy Garity) is what's politely called "slow." After Mom's sudden death, Albert attracts the attention of several questionable characters ready to help him manage his winnings: his former boss at the local copy shop (Bruce Dern), a shady traveling salesman (Randy Quaid), and a flirtatious young con artist (Alison Folland) just arrived in Albert's sleepy Milwaukee suburb with her hypochondriac teenage brother (Hank Harris), source of the titular geographical misconception. Saddled with an improbable plotline and an incoherent character (Albert's condition allows for sudden flashes of intelligence, as required by the script), Garity demurs on the invitation to overact—the odd cadences and they're-all-gonna-laugh-at-you mother obsession of his voice-over don't suggest Hoffman or Hanks so much as an unfunny Adam Sandler. First-timer Allan Mindel nails the snowbound rhythms of upper Midwestern life and orchestrates a near perfect ending, a fade-to-white over an unlikely promised land.

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