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The Distinguished Gentleman
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The Distinguished Gentleman More at IMDbPro »

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Did i see the same movie as everyone else????

Author: duke33 from Maryland
10 August 2001

Hmmm...I must be in the silent minority on this one. I thought this movie was absolutely atrocious. The plot was flimsy, the film moved WAY to fast at the beginning, and the big conspiracy was about power lines causing cancer...It was sad that was the best they could come up with. If you want to see truly great acting by Eddie Murphy, rent Bowfinger, Coming to America, or Trading Places. If you want to see a jumbled mess, watch this movie instead.

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A moderately successful political satire

Author: Timdobson from Australia
7 October 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Eddie Murphy and political satire. They don't seem to go there. In reality, though, it is Murphy that saves this film. The actual political satire is fairly worn in all forms of entertainment, big business and lobbyists control the government, while some brave insiders fight to preserve the integrity of the institution. This, in a way, is the weakest part of the film. It's not hard hitting enough to provide any real insights but hard enough to sometimes distract from the humour.

It doesn't break any new ground but Murphy is charming and funny in his role. He has some good one-liners. The redemption story at the end is, of course, hacked on and expected. How easy it was to expose their corruption, though, only seeks t undermine the previous points about its systematic nature.

For all this, it's worth watching for Eddie Murphy's performance.

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Eddie Murphy goes to Washington

Author: david-sarkies from Australia
6 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is cool. It is about a conman who decides that a lot of money can be made in politics and so he decides to become a politician. Fortunately he has a similar name to a congressman that just died and so using his name he rides the coat-tails of the late congressman and gets himself elected. Thus he goes into Congress with the belief that he is conning the nation only to discover that Congress is actually full of conmen. The scene in which he arrives in Washington, and is then praised by his peers for getting elected on somebody elses' name goes to show how this con is not treated with suspicion, but with praise.It is an interesting movie because it attacks politics and politicians.

Thomas Jefferson Johnson (Eddie Murphy) is a conman and believes that he is in control of everything. He is a very intelligent man and is able to squeeze his way into everything. He gets into Congress and then manages to promote himself into the Power and Energy Committee, the one with the most money.

This movie makes politicians out to be people with no real ambitions other than to make money. They have no real goals or passions but lean towards those who throw the most money at them. Capital is the god in politics, not ethics, and those who try to push ethics end up in sticky situations. Eli, a politician preacher, stands for ethics and ends up on the wrong end of a sex scandal. Dick Dodgers, who is the bad guy in the movie, cares only for money and prestige. He says to the public that he will look into powerlines causing cancer and turns on his promise after because the electricity bosses are throwing lots of money at him.

Jefferson learns slowly that ethics in politics does not exist, nor does free will. He is under the wing of Dick Dodgers to the point where people know that he does whatever Dick Dodgers tells him to. He believes that he has a freewill but in reality he does not. He is what is called "Dick Dodgers boy", he has no freewill were politics is concerned. He is to sit down and shutup.

The Distinguished Gentleman is a very funny movie, and interweaved with the comedy are scathing attacks at politicians. I enjoyed it the second time, having a greater idea as to where politics, and American History, is concerned. Though I cannot necessarily say that it is an original film (no film is really), but reminds me of an on 1930's movie, Mr Smith Goes to Washington, however there are a number of subtle differences. Namely Mr Smith is naive and innocent, and was elected as a part of a scam, which Mr Johnson is the scam. However, both come to realise what Congress is really all about, and the film finishes with them standing up for their beliefs, and through clever use of the rules, manage to shut the conspiracy down (if only for a short time).

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Best comedy about politics...Murphys most underrated movie

Author: Itsthatguyme from United States
12 July 2011

This is one of the most accurate movies about how absurd politics really are. Really well made and perfectly casted. It took me a Few times to really appreciate how clever this movie is. Very believable. Wouldn't doubt if it was loosely based on a true story. U get a lil bit of everything in this movie. Not funny so much Eddie being Eddie,but the situations and satire. It's not the typical set up Eddie jokes " movie. Way more sophisticated than other stuff he's done. It's more Subtle. Perfect satire. I would hope this movie is referenced when thinking about our political system and how it really runs on a day to day basis behind the scenes

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A Distinguished Gentleman

Author: jonathanruano from Canada
17 January 2011

"A Distinguished Gentleman" is about a con man Thomas Jefferson Johnson (Eddie Murphy) who realizes that the best con that he could pull is not as a small time operator in Florida, but as a Congressman in Washington D.C. making shady backroom deals with corporate lobbyists. All he has to do is vote a certain way on certain pieces of legislation and then get rewarded down the road with "donations" from corporations and other interest groups (including the gun lobby).

The three-fifths of "A Distinguished Gentleman" is great. There are many clever scenes in this film that expose Congress and corporations as rotten to the core and I personally think that it is sad that more films, like this one, are not made about the rottenness of Congress and Corporate America; and that the Hollywood establishment is reluctant to admit that, in today's America, we really have government by the corporations and not government by the people. But what also makes the first three-fifths so good is the use of humor as for indicting not only the political system, but also in a subtle way American society. I am referring, for instance, to that scene where an automatic weapons manufacturer explains that his autonomic guns should be sold because they are needed for hunting. Next you see Johnson, Chairman Dodge (Lane Smith in a marvellously wicked performance) and the manufacturer in a hilarious scene firing their automatic guns at ducks (when regular rifles would suffice). Wonderful. Another wonderful scene involves Terry Corrigan (Kevin McCarthy) explaining to Johnson that But then this film goes downhill, albeit slowly. I was entertain until the end, but I felt that the last two-fifths were not at good as the stellar three-fifths. Why? The first reason is the corny love story between Johnson and Celia Kirby (Victoria Rowell) which I thought distracted from the already clever story line. The other thing I object to was the decision of the producers to go for a happy ending, which creates the impression that all is write in the world as far as Congress and corporations are concern. The reality is that Congress is just as rotten now as it was in 1992 (when the film was made). The culprits were never held accountable. Meaningful, transformative changes continue to be held back. Reasoned bi-partisanship to resolve the country's outstanding problems, which include the environment, the deficit, the loss of middle class jobs and others, is non-existent.

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It Could Have Won an Oscar. And a Razzie Too !

Author: ahmed elshikh ( from Egypt
14 February 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This script is so smart. It's like (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) yet after changing the lead character from unsophisticated honest to sophisticated dishonest. And the aim is foxy; as when a hustler goes to the Congress he would be a very slight one. It got the journey that makes that little conman has a redemption out of beating the bigger conmen. I loved countless details and scenes. The clueless yet enthusiastic speech of "read my lips", "I know nothing about poultry, but I know people. So if you people come to me and say something about poultry…I'm going to listen", plus the scene of "what law you voted for?!" were certainly the best when it comes to define the true and bitter sarcasm of this script. (Eddie Murphy) was nice. I loved him while talking "white", or imitating Martin Luther King. And it was a good choice for his 11th movie. Clearly with (The Distinguished Gentleman) the man wanted to make comedy with something serious in the mix this time. But as a whole it wasn't a distinguished movie itself. It was somewhat like a worthy of Oscar material with a worthy of Razzie direction! The direction didn't give the matters its appropriate shadows. The artistic factors are none. All the scenes were made similarly. For instance there were, in most cases, no different uses for the lighting so all the scenes looked the same. The sets didn't embody the stateliness of the Congress, not even outwardly. The music didn't play any role, it wasn't funny, or serious; simply weak. Sometimes I felt that I was watching a bad TV episode done on a too limited budget too. Sure with another director that might have been one memorable political satire. The casting of the powerful guys wasn't powerful. They looked less menacing than what they are supposed to be. Over and above the script weakened itself by its very ending; actually after clever climax it inclined to be farcical for the sake of being happy. Simply the lead went and exposed a scheme that will push him into jail, while we see him, right after it, free, so honored, and thinking of running for presidency ??!! Well, they wanted it just a comedy after all. However it wasn't that highly attractive. And as a serious movie it didn't achieve much with the very promising material that it has. Mediocre result both ways. Or disappointing if you longed for more. Wanna hear something good; this is way WAY better than Murphy's other movie from the same year, the supposed romantic comedy, (Boomerang)!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Basic 80's Eddie that takes a small wrong turn, then rights itself mostly

Author: toolkien from next to waldo
15 June 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is passable 80's Eddie Murphy winding its way into the 90's. The premise is o.k. mostly works. Of course there has to be the inevitable "I didn't care at first but now I do" moments. You can't have a movie about our superiors in DC without the requisite message that Good must thwart Evil. In this case it is a little waif bald from her radiation treatment as a result of cancer from dastardly power lines. Yeah, that issue still resonates.

The first half of the movie is prime Eddie and punctures the fatuousness of Pols in general. Then it takes a left turn and pretty much spews out basic Hollywood rhetoric - Big Business Bad, Big Government Good. It almost spoils the movie entirely. But it pulls up a little and ends humorously enough.

Murphy has put out worse, so by comparison, this deserves a 6 out of 10.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Good start, average middle, cheesy ending

Author: xbernard from Belgium
14 August 2007

Eddie Murphy is a man capable of high energy humor, and is efficient with his broad smile, mimics and impersonations. And this movie gives him some great moments especially in the beginning.

Eddie Murphy starts as a Florida con 'artist' accompanied by some accomplices blackmailing people who use his private fake phone-sex service. While racketing a congressman, he finds out that running for Congress will earn him more money than he does now. His asset to get elected is his name which he shares with a just-deceased congressman called Jeff Johnson. His way to the top of course hardly meets any difficulty but, after all, this is a comedy so we don't mind as long as it's entertaining.

But then things go wrong, Johnson meets a Pro Bono lobbyist, falls in love with her pretty fast but their relationship doesn't add anything to the movie and is not developed and chemistry between both actors is obviously missing.

First, Johnson enjoys his journey at the Congress but he soon realizes he can't keep a straight face and simultaneously take part to the different frauds and corruption present.

This is where the movie takes a turn for the serious and forgets it started out as a comedy. It's now trying to make a point. Johnson accepts to help a town where children are submitted to the negative effects of power high lines causing a great deal of them to suffer from cancer. Johnson develops a plan to force Congress to do something and expose publicly the aforementioned frauds and corruption. All this is done in an unexplainable cheesy way.

Shame, as the movie contained some good ideas for a comedy but director Jonathan Lynn seems to have been distracted and forgot that his original intention was to make a good comedy with Eddie Murphy having a good time at Congress.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

It would be a sin...

Author: okonski from Glasgow, Scotland
30 May 2000

It was the title that put me off seeing this, but what a surprise - OK all politicians aren't like this (are they?) but the tongue-in-cheek delivery from Murphy was nicely placed and it could have been so over-the-top... right up until the last scene before the final credits rolled..

If you like genuine comedy, you won't be disappointed.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Begins Like A Sharp Political Satire As Good As An Ealing Comedy...

Author: Olive Wilfahrt (
30 January 1999

then falls apart half way through. A charming con artist goes to Congress - this part is hysterical, reminds me of "I'm Alright, Jack". Then has change of heart and decides to do good. Comedies stay funny, when protagonist stays stupid and learns nothing.

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