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|Index||217 reviews in total|
In my opinion, this is a charming, romantic, fantastic, heartwarming, sweet, and funny political romance. Everyone involved did an outstanding job, the costume and set design were nice, the direction was superior, and the movie was perfectly cast. When I saw that Michael J. Fox and Martin Sheen were in this, I was surprised. I just wish their roles had been bigger, though. Also, I thought that Andrew (Michael Douglas) and Sydney (Annette Bening) looked nice in their evening attire. Before I wrap this up, I'd like to say, "Michael Douglas and Annette Bening have scored big!" Now, in conclusion, if you are a fan of Michael Douglas or Annette Bening, I recommend this movie. You're in for a real treat and lots of laughs, so go to the video store, rent it or buy it, kick back with a friend, and watch it. You'll be glad you did.
The story is ridiculous, the acting, especially Annette Benning's, is poor, Michael J. Fox playing a character with the name Rothschild is a bad case of miscasting, and the portrayal of a President having an affair with a lobbyist causes me to wince. Yet I like this movie. You ask why, and I'll tell you. Because of Michael Douglas. This was a Michael Douglas movie. He actually gives a great performance as a President whose presidency is in a real crisis because of his indecisiveness and desire to do what is expedient at the expense of what is right. This President is so befuddled that he even has an affair with a lobbyist, which in the real world would be political suicide and be the subject for a slew of investigations and possibly indictments. But allowing for literary license, the movie avoids these political unpleasantries and concentrates instead on the relationship between the President and the lobbyist, with the latter using sex to manipulate the President and thereby achieve her political goals. That such shenanigans go on in this movie reduces this movie to the level of a distorted love story; that such shenanigans also go on in real life gives cause for serious concern.
Rob Reiner's film worked for me, i thought the story was great, great writing by West Wing's Aaron Sorkin. Story involves a democratic president running for re-election and having a relationship with a woman (his wife has died). People can argue film is biased, but so what, most are, least they picked the right side. The film is well-directed by Reiner, interesting throughout, and the script is great, serious when it has to be and funny at times as well, a very touching film in general. The performances were great for the most part, Douglas, Bening, Sheen, and Michael J. Fox were all great in their roles. best performance of film is probably between Martin Sheen and Michael J. Fox who both represent different sides of the presidents cabinet, sheen being the conservative old man and Michael J. Fox the young liberal. Dreyfuss is also good as the man running for re-election against the president. In general this is a very entertaining film, good to see a film about politics and love, that doesn't mess it up. 9/10
I have never liked Michael Douglas, but Annette Bening and Michael Fox
make the film worthwhile. A great political bedroom comedy. Get some
hot chocolate, popcorn and snuggle down. It's a good chick's movie,
date movie, cheer-me-up movie. Also good after a bad day at the office.
The story of a widower President and an upcoming election. The opposition here is played with cackling premonition by Richard Dreyfus, who could easily play the current VP to a T. Nina Siemasko is a perfect sister for Annette's Sidney Wade.
Nothing is left out, even the perfect, precocious daughter; but there's a light touch for a story that has to wrap in only two hours. Even Amber Frey had longer than that.
I really liked this story as it shows the very human problems that a man
would face if he was either single or widowed and the president to boot!
The two lead actors are terrific as well. For much of the movie Reiner
takes an even-handed approach with liberal topics, as gun control and the
environment are debated with a degree of fairness.
My problem? Reiner takes a not-so-veiled shot at Senator Bob Dole in the character of Rumson. First of all, the politics of personal destruction are not limited to one political party. Reiner chooses to ignore this fact. Second, despite your view of Dole's politics, he is a genuine war hero who gave much of his body in the service of our country during World War II. The closest the director of this film came to serving this country was in his dreams protesting.
I don't like cheap shots; Reiner should be ashamed of himself.
Michael Douglas portrays the U.S. President. He has been a widower for some time and decides that it's time to put some romance back into his life. He soon begins courting a young lobbyist (Annette Bening). Meanwhile, his political opponent (Richard Dreyfuss) tries to get anything private on their affair so he can use it to nab Douglas in front of the press. Yes, the plot is silly and sometimes predictable but Douglas' easygoing lead portrayal makes it better than what it could've been. Casting anybody else in the leading role here probably would've been a mistake. Director Rob Reiner is, as usual, in fine form. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin's script isn't all bad but it's not on the level of his previous film, the courtroom classic "A Few Good Men."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Once in a great while, Hollywood produces a great picture, which I can
over and over again. The American President is one of those rare movies.
(A few spoilers ahead)
Michael Douglas stars as the President, and does a superb job at it. Annette Benning is a powerful lobbyist for an environmental group. She meets the president by accidentally insulting him when she thinks he isn't around. After a brief face to face meeting where the president actually asks her to go somewhere to get a cup of coffee, she goes back home. Later that night, he calls her on the phone. Thinking that it's a friend of hers calling as a joke, she insults him again. When she realizes that she just insulted the president again in the same day, embarrassment fills her face. The President was actually calling her to invite her to be his date at a Formal State Dinner at the White House.
After agreeing to go to the dinner, the movie then follows the two in a courtship. Meanwhile, since it's an election year, the President's challenger to the White House (played by Richard Dreyfuss) uses this courtship to rally the American people to his side, citing family values, etc. (Sounds familiar, doesn't it?)
The movie has many more detailed parts to it, but that's the basic foundation of the plot. What's so great about this movie is that it is not only brilliantly acted by all actors, it also places the President of the United States in a different light - almost as just one of us. The plot is charming, the dialog is precious, and the acting is superb.
The movie? One of the best I've seen.
Recommended to all - especially fans of romantic comedies.
Rating: 10 out of 10.
What can be said about this movie? One word sums it up. WONDERFUL!! Rob Reiner is a genius and what a cast he got for this one. Let alone Bening and Douglas shine, but look at the rest of them. Samantha Mathis plays an assistant to the President and is great but take a look at Michael J Fox. This has got to be one of his best performances ever. When he gets p****d off just watch him shine through. No more is he pigeonholed to be in a comedy, after this. the movie flows so smoothly and does not disappoint at all. Buy the DVD, it is worth it so you can watch it over and over without wearing it out. Bening is such a terrific actress and so beautiful for a woman in her 40's now. Bening is one of the most beaufiful women by far. Bening, Kim Basinger and Sela Ward are the 40 something women us 20-30 something men just adore. So American President has many reasons to watch it or own it.
The sanctimony meter doesn't redline until at least half way through the
movie. Douglas acts a credibly matter-of-fact president, for the first
couple of reels, at least. And Sheen has left his halo in his
That's about as good as it gets.
Leaving the political stuff aside (in the end, it's the Sorkin stacked decks we've come to know and loathe), one gets to the characters. Which are really disappointing.
In particular, I'd love to love Annette Bening. She should be great in the Ginger Rogers/Jean Arthur role of the smart, feisty career girl who finds love. Except that, here, she comes over as having the backbone of a jellyfish.
She gushes like a fourth grader to the security guy (to get in the clunkiest imaginable namecheck for Capra). In her first scene (in the Oval Office) with Douglas, her babbling apologies are tedious, not charming. And then she crashes into reverse gear to offer him a pretty crass threat (all to set up a lame variation on the storm out into the cupboard' joke).
Why would a ninny like that set the president's hormones going?
Then she has what should be the scene of the movie. Mistaking Douglas on the phone for a colleague's impersonation. It starts off badly, with some unfunny banter with her sister (less rapport than with the security guy).
The three phone calls with the president seem pretty routine in structure - mistake, realisation, apology (another one!). And the script plays a pretty straight bat, too.
It's the acting and directing/editing that kill it - the realisation call should be a single shot on Bening, watching her act deflation and embarrassment in face and body. I assume she couldn't manage it because a cutaway on Douglas is edited in at the crucial moment. Certainly, that's what her (underwhelming) shots in that scene would suggest.
And when she rings back, it's back to the rather whiny tone of the Oval Office. She muffs her reference to the nice ass remark', diction-wise.
(Calista Flockhart, at her best, was technically much better at this sort of thing in the first couple of seasons of Ally McBeal').
There is no flirtiness in her banter (How did you get my number?') with Douglas; his smile at the end suggests pleasure at finding himself able to get a date rather than any overwhelming erotic interest in Bening.
And at the dinner for the French president - an absurdly charmless lump serving only to show Bening has at least one old-fashioned accomplishment' (a smattering of French) - there is a candidate for least romantic ballroom scene ever. Her babbling at Douglas's invitation is really old by now; the average airport departure lounge has a more romantic ambience; and the music is dreadful (the trumpet is clearly a refugee from The Alamo'). And neither of them appears to be able to dance.
(Technically, the lighting is appalling (like a theatre with the house lights up); the shots of them shuffling around cold and uninvolving (the final crane shot looks as if it is from a CCTV camera!)
It's pretty much downhill all the way after that.
Why does Hollywood keep on serving up these poor excuses for female characters?
Contrast this film with Mr Smith Goes to Washington' (Reiner brings it up!). A film made at a time when, by and large, women's services behind the camera were either menial or horizontal.
There, the Jean Arthur character (who has evidently done horizontal service herself) is utterly cynical, and bent on doing to Uncle Sam what he has done to her in the previous couple of decades.
She shamelessly uses Smith as a tool - and, even when she falls for him, doesn't let her hormones get in the way of setting him up in the cruellest of practical jokes.
She was only a lowly secretary (the only women who had been Senators up till her day were Senators' widows) - but she never traded on being the little woman'.
And her character (more than any other) drives the plot of the film.
Compared to her, the Bening character is vapid and weak, a caricature of womanly attributes.
(The relationship between Douglas and his daughter might have taken the edge off one's disappointment - a different sort of flirtiness. But even that classic, the tying of the male klutz's bow-tie engenders no spark.)
Rob Reiner's "The American President," from a fairly good screenplay by
Aaron Sorkin, is a romantic comedy that gets too much into the politics of
its lead character, but is quite excellent as far as romance
Michael Douglas plays the esteemed President, a truly nice-guy widower (a President with morals is quite a hard thing to buy) and Annette Bening is the feisty political strategist he falls in love with. Th supporting cast of the film is absolutely wonderful, peppered with names like Martin Sheen and Michael J. Fox.
Well, no, I didn't enjoy the politics in the film, even though I know a lot of people found them interesting. I could never exactly figure out WHAT the President and the Bening character were fighting for or against, and I don't think that the Republicans would go into a massive character debate because a widower finally found love again (although those Republicans can be pretty mean; no offense to any conservative readers). Still, "The American President" is worth seeing for a really great romance. Rated PG-13. 114 minutes. 7 out of 10.
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