Starring Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Sir Ben Kingsley, Frank Langella, Laura Linney, Bonnie Hunt, Ving Rhames
An amateur impersonator of the US President is given the job full-time after the real thing suffers a horrible accident.
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Another movie I have to thank the BBC for due to them playing it one late evening, this good time movie is warm-hearted mainly due to the main love story between the likeable partnership of Kline and Weaver which grows on you from the very moment you see them in cinematic partnership.
Dave Kovic (Kline) is a regular, nice guy who happens to look like US President Bill Mitchell and impersonates him from time to time. Uncanny this talent might be, he is recruited by President Mitchell’s bodyguards who ask him that he be the man himself for one night only. The night goes swimmingly, but after a nasty accident shagging one of his secretaries Bill is left in a coma. Having no option in their eyes, it is decided by two of his cronies that he should become President allowing the leader of this pact Bob Alexander (Frank Langella) to become President after naming and shaming VP Nance (Sir Ben Kinglsey) in what is a forged conspiracy. On top of this, Dave has to contend with convincing not just the American people but also Bill’s wife Ellen (Weaver).
Normally viewed as a bit too sickly for some folks, this heart-warming tale might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it certainly is mine. A fan of Kline’s for some time now, I believe this to be the first movie I saw of his. Generally speaking, this is a vehicle for Kline but seems to be joined by many other notable faces who have made their fames and fortunes over the years. Sigourney Weaver, Sir Ben Kingsley, Frank Langella, Kevin Dunn and the great Charles Grodin are to name just a few but it is Kline who makes you want to watch this movie. The reasons being thus.
It is the comical, clown-like ability of Kline that makes you want to watch this movie. It seems that every time he tells a joke, Kline has been amply supplied by screenwriter Gary Ross with some golden bullets. His emotional upheaval of working in an employment agency to leader of the world is dealt with maturely yet done in a comical manner which even after the twentieth viewing does not tire the eyes, ears or whatever sense is stimulated when watching a fine performance.
Supporting Kline in his comical conquest of American politics are some fine people indeed. Weaver is most present here as Bill’s wife, and her double performance as Ice-queen First Lady and doting wife is certainly different from ripping the life out of an Alien on a far-off planet. Sir Ben Kingsley is quite the find here in a straight role. In the same year of this movie’s release, his role of Itzhak Stern catapulted him to the world once more. To say Sir Ben is versatile is stating the damn obvious, and here his thespian qualities are certainly merited well.
I have always held the opinion that Charles Grodin is a much underrated person. His comic timing in many of his movies are pitch-perfect to say the least, and it is criminal that he has not worked more in previous decades. An actor who I reckon will at last be honoured after his passing, Grodin more than surpasses all expectations here as Dave’s friend Murray.
And the strangest element of this movie? The fact that Ivan “Mr Ghostbusters” Reitman directs proceedings. Having thought that Ivan was responsible for directing the Ghostbuster movies, I looked up his biography and was surprised to see that he has directed other comedies than “Dave”. “Twins”, “Junior” and “Evolution” are such examples of his directorial work other then the ghost busting quartet double feature, but here he does a fine job and simply allows Kline, Weaver and co to simply get on with it. The sign of a great director for sure, and what an effort this is.
Not always regarded as a good film in any way whatsoever, I for one disagree with this notion. The comedic element of this film may not be award-winning, but it succeeds in raising a belly busting laugh or ten which is what you always ask of a comedy. A great movie, which should be watched by all.