Chevy Chase plays a depressed air traffic controller who acquires telekinetic powers after glowing green nuclear waste liquid from a tanker truck on the highway splashes out onto him. "Groove Tube" director Ken Shapiro has assembled a quality cast, and the premise generates some amusing moments in this average romantic comedy. The logic between our hero's affliction and the powers that he gets seems fractured. Nuclear waste usually precipitates debilitating diseases rather than spectacular telekinetic powers. The first scene at the air traffic control center is reminiscent of a "Saturday Night Live" skit with everybody preoccupied with other matters than the aircraft they are supervising in the skies above New York City. After Max (Chevy Chase of "Foul Play") gets off duty and heads home, our ill-fated protagonist has to contend with mechanical problems with his car. First, he retracts his moon roof, and the handle comes off in his fist. Second, he then finds himself jammed between trucks, and the truck in front of him is loaded down with caged chickens. Third, chicken feathers swirl onto his windshield, through his moon roof, and onto his face. He tries to remove the feathers from his windshield with washer fluid, but he showers himself with his own water. Clearly, this scene anticipates Max's encounter with the nuclear waste truck. Afterward, he has to deal with the departure of his girlfriend Darcy (Patti D'Arbanville), and this predicament pushes him over the edge into massive depression. One of the funnier moments has Max using his powers when he gets upset about a rival, Barry, has convinced Darcy to go out on a date. While Max and Darcy are arguing over her date with Barry, Max's rage grows to the point that he makes a C-47 ashtray fly around the room. Predictably, Max manages to win Darcy back with his special telekinetic powers. First, he induces a case of nose-bleed on her stuck-up boyfriend, Barry (Mitch Kreindel of "Being There"), to force him to leave the restaurant. Later, he sabotages Barry's opera, making the lead dancer plunge off the stage at one point during his routine. Afterward, once Barry has taken Darcy home, Max steps in and takes Darcy to bed and gives her orgasm after orgasm before admitting that he isn't doing it. The major set-piece takes place as a Victorian beach house where Max and Darcy are invited by an old friend, Brian (Brian Doyle-Murray), who is a decorated Vietnam veteran confined to a wheelchair after an explosion crippled him following a sexual encounter with a Vietnamese woman. As it turns out, the enemy woman left a bomb under his bed after they had sex. Brian meets Max's ex-wife Lorraine (Mary Kay Place) one afternoon while Max is discussing his loss of Darcy with him. Lorraine falls head over heels in love with Brian after they meet at a gay bar where Brian is holding a publicity party for his bestselling self-help author, Mark Winslow (Dabney Coleman of "9 to 5"), who is so conceited that he thinks all women crave him. Coleman excels at being obnoxious and has a funny moment when he bares his butt to seduce Darcy. Darcy doesn't take the bait because she has refocused her sights on Max. At the beach house, Max goes nuts, turns luminous green, and behaves as if he were possessed. He dangles a white mouse in the air and then sniffs all of the white powder that superstitious Dorita (Nell Carter), a Haitian maid from Port Au Prince, has sprinkled around his bed to confine him to the mattress. This is probably the best scene after the opera scene. Darcy struggles to reassure Max on the roof of the beach house that she genuinely is concerned about him. Eventually, Dorita is stricken with the same powers. Abruptly, the film concludes as if Shapiro and co-scenarists Tom Sherohman and Arthur Sellers exhausted their creativity. Dabney Coleman adopts a phony accent that makes him sound funny, and Max subjects Mark's character to one humiliation after another during a dinner table scene. Chase delivers another low-key, laid-back performance where he relies on his deadpan behavior for maximum impact. The cast is charismatic, but the comedy is sporadic. "Modern Problems" boasts several goofy moments, but it isn't the tour-de-force that "The Groove Tube" was. Altogether, "Modern Problems" isn't Chase's best, but neither is it is worst.