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The Missing Matthau / Lemmon film
theowinthrop6 August 2005
In the 1990s there were a slew of films in which Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau appeared together. The first two were GRUMPY OLD MEN, and it's sequel GRUMPIER OLD MEN, both of which had good box office. Then came THE GRASS HARP, which is technically one of their joint films, but is actually a dramatization of a fine novel by Truman Capote that had an excellent ensemble cast, and that only had one scene with the two actors together. OUT TO SEA was another Lemmon and Matthau romp, and finally came THE ODD COUPLE II, which was a weak (but amusing) sequel.

Technically, between THE GRASS HARP and OUT TO SEA there was to be this film. It was to star Matthau as a Democratic ex-President, whose one term in office was following the one term of his rival, Republican ex-President Lemmon, and both would be followed by Republican incumbent Dan Ackroyd. But Matthau could not be in the film, presumably due to health problems. Instead, his role was filled in by James Garner. Although one likes watching the chemistry of Matthau and Lemmon in their comedies, the substitution of Garner is probably for the best. Garner's character is like Bill Clinton or John Kennedy, a ladies' man type. In fact, his wife is divorcing him during the film (we only see her briefly when he is elected President). Somehow Matthau could not have fit that type of role.

The 1990s also saw several pictures that tackled the problems of the Presidency. The best of these was THE American PRESIDENT, wherein Michael Douglas tries to balance his job's duties, with his performance ratings, and his falling in love with a woman whose political agenda can be used to bash him (Annette Benning). There was also DAVE, which was a variation on an old Akim Tamiroff film THE MAGNIFICENT FRAUD, wherein a double (KEVIN KLINE) finds he must continue to play the role of the President when the President (who is corrupt) has a devastating stroke. There the double finds himself falling in love with the First Lady (SIGOURNEY WEAVER - who reciprocates), and fighting an unscrupulous, power-hungry chief of staff (FRANK LANGELLA). MY FELLOW Americans fits in with this pair of films in continuing the trend.

Lemmon wins his term as President by defeating his Democratic rival Garner. But four years later Garner defeats incumbent Lemmon. But four years after that Garner is defeated by Lemmon's former Vice President Ackroyd. In the third year of his term, Ackroyd is told by his chief of staff, Bradley Whitford (ironically a member on the television series THE WEST WING currently), that a major financial scandal involving Ackroyd is about to be revealed, and will finish him politically. Ackroyd and Whitford decide to kill the scandal by framing Lemmon for taking the bribes involved. But Lemmon is tipped off about the scandal by news reporter Sela Ward (seeking an exclusive), and Garner learns of it from Democratic Party head Wilfrid Brimley (and encouraged to check into it with the possibility of being renominated for the Presidency again). When the key man in the scandal is shot and killed by a rogue CIA man (Everett McGill, in an exceptionally good, creepy performance), the lives of the two ex-Presidents are in danger. They are forced to join forces to prove Ackroyd's perfidy. They are also forced to confront each other and their own failings.

The reason the film works is it forces the audience to think of what is wrong with the political system. The initial ten minutes, with it's rapid turnover of one term Presidents, mouthing the typical clichés, reminds us that our leaders (with rare exceptions) rarely do more than protect their political hides by not doing anything that would really rock things. This is similar to the situation in THE American PRESIDENT where Douglas will not confront his Republican rival, Richard Dreyfus, who is questioning the influence of Benning on the President's policies, and who is willing to make a deal to pass some cosmetic, worthless "crime bill" instead of tackling the pro-gun lobby.

In MY FELLOW Americans the moment of truth is when both ex-Presidents learn that their mediocre policies cost a nice family their job and their home. Garner finally shows how fed up he is, towards the end, when he tells Lemmon that he is sick of thinking of how little he really accomplished in the four years he was President, and how he wants to demolish Ackroyd's corrupt administration because it is what the starry eyed believers of Democracy expect their Presidents to do.

The cast was quite in the film, but one wishes Lauren Bacall had had more scenes with Lemmon (her husband in the movie), and that Esther Rolle had been in a few more scenes as the White House cook. But otherwise it is a good Garner/Lemmon comedy, even though it was to have been a Matthau/Lemmon film.
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Great Comedy!
arno.f@hetnet.nl22 September 2004
I have to say that I totally disagree with the last comment I read on this movie. I think it's a very funny, well acted comedy. I think I watched it about six times in the last four years and it never fails to crack me up, I've enjoyed it as much the last time as the first time. Jack Lemmon is a great comedy actor and so is James Garner. It splashes of the screen that they had fun playing their parts. They play very well of each other. The script may not be the best written script ever, but it certainly contains a whole bunch of very funny one-liners, as well as a good deal of visual comedy. The casting is good also the supporting roles from Jon Heard, Dan Aykroyd, Wilford Brimley and Lauren Baccal.

All in all it is a very entertaining film, witch I recommend to anyone who is seeking for an evening of letting all tensions gliding of you and having many good laughs.

On a scale 1-10, I give it an 8.
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Kings Among the Commoners
urthmothr17 May 2004
My husband and I both love this movie, for a number of reasons. 1. We are fans of James Garner in particular, and Jack Lemmon also. As other reviewers have noted, they play off each other extremely well. 2. In NJ, we have two former (rival)governors who share a political column. Every time I see this movie, I think of the column, where they share a grudging respect somewhat like the characters in the movie. 3. None of the reviewers have said much about the "king among the commoners" theme. During their cross-country trek, the two former Presidents find out who their "fellow Americans" REALLY are - illegal immigrants, homeless families looking for a job, gay security guards, etc., etc. That's what this movie's REALLY all about. -Earth Mother
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Presidents Dumb and Dumber...
Mister-69 April 2000
So many professional actors, so much sophomoric humor. You gotta love it.

"My Fellow Americans" features Jack Lemmon and James Garner as ex-presidents on the run when they discover a cover-up with the present Chief of Staff (Dan Aykroyd) in the middle.

This isn't a movie anyone's going to take seriously, and well they shouldn't. There are lots of moments here that will elicit a laugh or two, maybe three. And what plot there is whizzes by at such a fast pace that there's more time to concentrate on the guffaws.

Lemmon and Garner play their parts as you'd expect. That they go the dumb route is no surprise; in fact, it makes their presence here all the more entertaining. Aykroyd basically plays the heavy here, so there's no real chance for him to generate any laughs. A shame, since he's usually so good at that.

Then there's the fact that real gems like Bacall and Brimley and Ward are just given throw-away parts; it's good to see them, of course, but you'd figure they'd have more to do (especially Bacall!!).

Kudos, though, to John Heard as the dim-witted Vice President. Some of the biggest laughs in this movie (for me) came from him. His eulogy at the funeral scene early in the movie always makes me laugh out, as does his pithy observations such as "Hey, a hat!". Beats me why he isn't in more movies.

As I said, the laughs are there, and if you demand nothing more from a comedy than to laugh, you'll want to do your political duty and rent "My Fellow Americans" - the one movie that insults both parties equally.

Seven stars, plus one extra for putting up an excellent "fakade".
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My Fellow Americans: 8/10
movieguy102129 November 2002
Jack Lemmon and James Garner are in top comedic form in My Fellow Americans. They, respectively, play former President Russell Kramer (Republican) and former President Matt Douglas (Democrat), who have spent the last thirty years hating each others guts. "It's always sad when another good Democrat dies," Douglas says to a Secret Service Agent while on the way to the funeral. "I believe that the deceased was a Republican, sir," he replies. To that, Douglas says, "Oh. Then this might not be so bad."

The current President, Haney (Dan Aykroyd) took kickback while Kramer was president. And Haney's trying to pin them on Kramer. Kramer and Douglas both know about it and Haney's going to try to kill them. When that proves unsucessful, Kramer and Douglas end up stranded alone in the middle of nowhere. So the two people, who loathe each other, must work together to tell thier fellow Americans while seeing the effect of their presidency on the general people.

There are too many political movies. There aren't many political comedies. There are even less raunchy political comedies. In fact, it seems that My Fellow Americans should have been raunchier to warrant an R rating. Peter Segal wanted it to be ribald, but it would have been easier to write for if they didn't have an PG-13 rating in mind, so they could open up the humor a little.

I really like the two leads. They had great chemistry together, I thought they actually hated each other. Lemmon and Garner had a great sense of comedic timing. The movie knew it was a comedy, but tried to take itself in a serious way, which has a great result. Other characters, however, pop up and then leave. Kay Griffin (Sela Ward), the reporter, has about two scenes, and Ben just pops up out of nowhere.

It was extremely funny. Its raunch mixed in with tries-to-take-it-serious humor: "Now, if you'll excuse me, my salad's getting cold." I can't really think of anything else to say.

My Fellow Americans is very funny with great leads. Look for it!

My rating: 8/10

Rated PG-13 for salty language and innuendo.
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A pleasant surprise.
Shannon Hubbell23 September 2006
When this film first came out, the trailers did not interest me in the least. I actually avoided seeing it so as to avoid seeing two cool actors make asses out of themselves (in a bad way). The film was rather poorly marketed, in other words. It looked like Beavis and Butthead with two old guys (in a bad way).

In other words, I'm glad this was the film shown on an Amtrak train a few years back. I think I was laughing harder than anyone else in my car. Frankly, I think a few jokes sailed over people's heads. I remember in particular that the hilarious mispronunciation of "facade" by Dan Ackroyd's clueless VP didn't merit a titter. A few people looked at me oddly when I laughed at it.

This isn't brilliant film-making, mind you. It's simply a vehicle for a lot of very talented comic actors to have fun with some ripe material. It may dip into preachiness now and again, but that is always redeemed ASAP by an entertaining round of rapid-fire bickering.

On an aside, I have to say that I've been in love with Lauren Bacall since I saw The Big Sleep for the first time. It was great to see her in this and even greater to see that she still has a knack for the sharply delivered one-liner. Also, for someone born in the 20s she looks amazing. You heard me right. At 82 years, Lauren Bacall is still hot. Bogie was a very lucky man.
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A Comedic Constitutional Crisis
bkoganbing17 September 2007
Those two old pros, Jack Lemmon and James Garner, in their only film together provide quite a few laughs in what would normally be a very serious subject, a constitutional crisis.

Two former presidents, Lemmon a Republican and Garner a Democrat, have a real nasty rivalry going. But when current president Dan Ackroyd tries to pin a kickback in a defense contract scandal on his fellow Republican Lemmon things get good and nasty. Garner gets into it when he starts checking on which Republican really is the crooked one and stumbles on the murdered defense contractor.

After that when the two presidents are nearly killed when a government helicopter blows up, they are on the run. They are forced into an alliance of convenience.

Despite this description, it is in fact a comedy with these two men who even as ex-Presidents are used to having everything done for them. Quite amusing indeed when they're forced out on their own.

It's funny, but there are some trenchant comments about the state of politics and life in general in America at the turn of the new millennium. Lauren Bacall is in this oh too briefly as Lemmon's wife and Dan Ackroyd is the current president with John Heard as his Dan Quayle like Vice President.

Republican or Democrat most viewers will vote thumbs up for My Fellow Americans.
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We Love It!
joylily51424 May 2003
We just happened upon this movie a couple of years ago when looking for some movies to rent. Somehow we had missed it when the movie had been released and it was new to us. We figured with Jack Lemmon and James Garner it couldn't be too bad.

We thoroughtly enjoyed the movie and think it is one of the funniest movies around. Lemmon and Garner play against one another perfectly. After seeing it the first time, we went ahead and purchased the movie. We have watched it more than a few times and have never grown tired of it. There are some favorite scenes that we still laugh about even thought we know what is coming.

We highly recommend this movie to anyone who is the mood for some good laughs and even some thoughtful moments. You might not want children to see this because of language and a couple of scenes in bedrooms.
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They're the chiefs and they need hailing
Steve Pulaski7 January 2013
Peter Segal's My Fellow Americans, a kind and genial little film, has coined the term "Grumpy Old Presidents' over time with good reason. Had Walter Mathau been cast in the role of Democratic Governor Matt Douglas and not James Garner, we would've been calling this "Grumpiest Old Men," as if it were a sequel to the inspired comedies Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathau made in the mid-nineties.

But I digress. This is an equally inspired comedy, that knows its tone, knows its audience, and makes good use of its entire cast, especially its lead, Lemmon and Garner, who are unbelievably charismatic together as two bitter political rivals that have proudly clung to this white collar, boyhood way of fighting for decades now. Lemmon plays Republican Senator Russell Kramer and Garner is Democratic Governor Matt Douglas, who have both endured four years in office, first being Kramer defeating Douglas, and then four years later, vice-versa. Now incumbent Douglas has been defeated by former vice president William Haney (Dan Aykroyd) and his vice president Ted Matthews (John Heard). Up to speed? The last few years have been quite quiet for Kramer, who has been publishing books left and right and speaking at various schools and even for insurance companies. Douglas has endured a rougher road, working on publishing a book that is a sub-par effort according to his editor and is in the mix of a long divorce battle. On a plane to a funeral at Air Force One for a fallen Republican, the two men quibble all throughout the plane-ride and cement the fact to us why they have been bitter rivals for so many long years.

When a serious scandal goes on that a man by the name of Charlie Reynolds (James Rebhorn) offered current president Haney kickbacks when he was a vice president, the Democratic Party plots to frame Kramer. But when Charlies is assassinated and Kramer and Douglas are put on a helicopter allegedly headed for Camp David under the order of Haney, but shipped into the middle of nowhere, the two cantankerous old presidents must learn to get along and attempt to stop the kickback scandal currently at hand in the White House.

It's easy to say this film is never boring. What impressed me immediately was how dialog-driven and event-assisted this film became during the middle of its first act and how it never ceased to become lengthy and ponderous. The film uses its two men not as fiery weapons, but as human characters as they try in work through an incomprehensible situation paired with someone they are not fond of. The film continues to throw in different little twists, to keep its slender plot interesting, and never do they seem obligatory and forced. They are all little pieces attributing to the larger conflict at hand and all come to a close nicely.

Writers E. Jack Kaplan, Richard Chapman, and Peter Tolan are too concerned with infusing satire into this material rather than have the characters remain presidential archetypes. Had they not gone for a more satirical effort, depicting corruption in the White House, brutal honest among elected officials, and widely different outlooks on both characters all attempting to cater to the same goal, this could've been a relatively strained, dull, unimportant effort. Yet largely because of the way the film injects little humorous quirks that make both Republicans and Democrats tick is the reason for My Fellow Americans' success as a film and as a whole.

One could argue the film plays it too safe for a comedy directed at satirizing and lampooning American politics. I agree; the film relatively works in an inconsequential light and its prime goal isn't to offend or promote further hatred to one side or the other. But this could work in part of its success too, since we're so accustomed to each side bitterly debating with each other and the almost deliberate and apparent contention each side holds with one another that maybe a "safe" satire on politics is kind of what we need. A fun, free-spirited kind of take on the issue. It doesn't need to be completely offensive, and the film isn't always as safe as it would appear. Yet in the long run, Republicans shouldn't be too offended at the jabs at their stinginess and Democrats shouldn't be offended at the punches at their free use of money.

My Fellow Americans is written efficiently and played nicely by its three writers and directed with a nice loose grip by Peter Segal, who too directed the joyously fun, quick-witted comedy that was Tommy Boy, that emphasized on the snappy worldplay that this project heavily relies on. Both films work well in the same fields, giving us two likable main characters, two talented screen-performers, an easily-digestible script, competent writing, solid direction, and overall, a cheeriness about a subject that we need and should cherish in current times. The whole exercise works on its own merits and that could be the reason you like or dislike this film as a whole.

Starring: Jack Lemmon, James Garner, Dan Aykroyd, and John Heard. Directed by: Peter Segal.
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The Calm Life of Former Presidents Gets Interrupted.
tfrizzell26 June 2004
Hollywood legends Jack Lemmon and James Garner star as former U.S. presidents (Lemmon Republican and Garner Democratic) who unwittingly become involved with political espionage as they become targets of someone within the new administration (Dan Aykroyd, Lemmon's former vice president, is now the commander-in-chief). Soon they are chased by bad secret service agents and constant assassination attempts also follow with would-be hilarious results. They also see America as they have never seen it before and learn that many of their decisions were not the best for those in the national public. "My Fellow Americans" is a watchable little film, but ultimately it does not completely succeed. The tone of the picture goes for laughs and then tries to educate those watching by showing how people in the highest of places can affect ordinary folks. This double standard just does not play as well as I would have liked. John Heard's character (as Aykroyd's vice president) steals every scene with his naive and silly antics. 2.5 out of 5 stars.
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Descent One-Watch Political Comedy Which Will End Up Being More Amusing than the Trump Presidency
classicalsteve11 November 2016
The premise of the film is that current office-holder President William Haney (Dan Ackroyd) was involved in an illegal kick-back scheme, giving contracts to a defense company for cash when he was vice president. To prevent the downfall of Haney's presidency, his assistant Carl Witnaur (Bradley Whitford) creates an ingenious cover-up: pin it on former president Russell Kramer (Jack Lemmon). Now while kick-backs are viewed as essentially like bribes, these transgressions may pale in comparison to the nightmare of a Donald Trump presidency. At this writing, Donald Trump was just elected the 45th president of the United States, and the country's divisive nature is rearing its ugly head with protests against a Trump presidency in several urban centers.

The film essentially veers away from any controversy and is essentially a harmless road-movie comedy. The premise is that because of the cover-up, the forces loyal to Haney are hunting down both former presidents Kramer and his republican rival President Matt Douglas (James Garner), both one-term presidents. They are forced to help each other, traveling to Kramer's presidential library in Cleveland, OH. Lemon as Kramer seems loosely based on President George H.W. Bush, conservative republican, and President Douglas is loosely based on President Bill Clinton, womanizing democrat. The main outcome which is only applied with a sledge-hammer is that the one-term presidents of opposing parties have more in common than they realize.

Similar to many other road films, from "the Silver Streak" with Gene Wilder and Richard Prior in the 1970's to "Get Him to the Greek" starring Russell Brand and Jonah Hill in 2010, "My Fellow Americans" is the tried-and-true formula of two reluctant traveling companions who discover more about one-another than when they were political rivals. They intersect with members of middle America with which they probably wouldn't have ever seen even at campaign rallies, except maybe in issues of The National Enquirer: an obese female trucker, lower-middle class unemployed's, gays and lesbians in a small town, and, my favorite "dykes on bikes".

They learn that there's more to the working lower middle-class than meets the eye but again, it's kind of too obvious for its own good. Inter-spliced with this supposedly "deep" message is a lot of goofy bits. For example, they meet an Elvis impersonator about to board a costume-party train (rings a bit like scenes from "Trading Places"), and he assumes they're actors or impersonators dressed like recent US presidents. In another moment, their car is skewered by a "Jack in the Box" statue at a fast food stop while on the road.

The biggest problem is the film tries to be goofy yet somehow poignant, but it can't make up it's mind as to which road it wants to take. "Primary Colors", a far superior film to "My Fellow Americans" found an excellent balance between comedy and its darker message. In places "Primary Colors" was very funny, but the humor derived from scenes in which real politicians could be imagined engaging in outrageous behavior, such as when John Travolta as Governor Stanton throws his cell phone out of their car and they have to find it in the shrubbery. By contrast, many scenes in "My Fellow Americans" were too outrageous to be believed. The end up in a small town among a gay pride parade, hiding from their would-be assassins. The locals mistakenly believe the two presidents are "coming out". Seems like it would have been easy to go to the local authorities and contact the FBI or Secret Service! However they never seem to be able to acquire any assistance from anyone in Washington while on the road, and the baddies easily find them. One scene I did like was when they finally reach President Kramer's library, and there's a cut-out standing board with Lemmon as a young actor in uniform, supposedly when Kramer was a Second World War soldier.

A decent one-watch but unfortunately a comedy which had much more potential than it realizes. The characters end up appreciating they are "both Americans". Oh brother. The espionage part is kind of interesting, but the road aspect seemed to be long strings of contrived set-up's for crazy comedic moments which were very forced. What silly thing is going to happen to them next? The two leads, Jack Lemmon and James Garner who are heavy-hitting dramatic-comedic talents make it work. In lesser hands it would have been more like a prolonged Saturday Night Live sketch. However, their characters' supposedly rivalry look more like Superman and Batman. The Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton rivalry of the last election ring more of Eleanor Roosevelt versus Dracula.
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Wish there was a sequel....
yddsp@aol.com28 October 2007
What a terrific parody on the political machine and its inner workings, or is it....a parody? I never even realized that Jack Lemmon and James Garner generated such great chemistry together. John Heard's role is also knee-slapping hilarious, that's the part that made me question the analogy of the comedic to the authentic in the undertone of this story...the time frame eludes me comparatively, but I seem to recall numerous instances of grammatical as well as literal faux pas perpetrated on the publics collective ear, lol. Makes one question just how secure we really are, but I guess it boils down to an analogy of a fancy exotic culinary offering and having the ability to make it or even pronounce it, I guess you don't have to be able spell it or say it to be able enjoy just eat it! Sorry I digressed but just couldn't avoid the relationship to the factual. Either way this is one very funny, enjoyable movie, I wish there was a sequel!
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*** out of **** (Beware, spoilers in my review)
Scott-10124 April 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This is a pretty unique presidential comedy because the protagonists, Jack Lemmon and James Garner, are a pair of presidents already out of office. It must have made Walter Matthau, Lemmon's comic counterpart for over 30 years, feel pretty expendable to see the same "Odd Couple" chemistry with Garner performing so well across Lemmon.

The movie cleverly starts out with Lemmon's character presidential candidate Kramer having been just elected president, thanking his constituents with joy and giving a speech about "how dreams are like children, they must be nurtured", this is a running gag here, this is the only speech he has and he gives it at least a hundred times in the first hour of the movie alone. We then fast-forward four years and we hear Jack Lemmon at a podium in front of a big crowd, this time conceding to his opponent and giving a speech, obviously a lie, about how much confidence he has in his opponent to run the country. We start to think the movie is about to settle down, but before we get to know any more about the characters, we're fast forwarded 4 years, where Garner's character Matt Douglas has just lost to Kramer's former vice-president (Akroyd), and if that's not a long enough introduction, we fast-forward 3 more years we finally begin to settle in, and after the movie has given us enough motion sickness, we see Kramer and Douglas, feeling nostalgic and unfulfilled about their mediocre administations. When you think about it, it's nothing more than a midlife crisis. After that, however things kind of get confusing. Haney frames Kramer for a fraud as a way for the administration to defer blame. That's understandable, but for some odd reason, this pits the two ex-presidents together into a life-or-death battle against the national security agency. I think the plot is ridiculous, maybe I should've been more astute, but why was Douglas' life in danger? Why didn't the two ex-presidents go to the local authorities? Why was the NSA involved? However, regardless of the lack of anything convincing, the movie is undeniably fun. I'm not sure exactly why the characters are doing what they're doing, but at least they're having fun doing it and we can't help but have some fun watching them on their shenanigans, accidentally marching in a gay parade, hitching a ride with some illegal immigrants, posing as presidential impersonators of themselves, and the like. The humor also borders on political satire as well.

At the end of the movie, the good guys win in Disney-like fashion and everything turns out just fine and dandy, and because of that my first reaction was extremely joyous walking out of the theater. I was thinking, "Yay! The presidents won! They're gonna clean out Washington!" That's what a happy ending does for you, but shortly after, it struck me how ridiculous and Disney-like the movie was. I think Roger Ebert said it best when he said "it's soon to be forgotten, but it has its moments." It makes little sense, true, but it's pretty fun.
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A job well done.
Jack the Ripper18881 April 2003
I was very impressed with MY FELLOW AMERICANS the first time I watched it. I was expecting the film to be horrid as it starred Jack Lemmon (which is great) but had James Garner in place of Walter Matthau. I thought this might create a problem, but no.

The story is very fresh and original and the dialogue is witty and the film is filled with a biting sense of sarcasm. It is a touching film at that as well, because it teaches good life lessons about how you should not waste your time and just get right to living. The film has violence and action sequences (explosions, gun shots) that almost make it seem like an action comedy. But, no this is no action comedy. Just a good clean, fun comedy.

The role played by James Garner is very well written and it seems that his role was written with Matthau in mind. But, Garner takes his place well and the film would not have been the same without him. Truly hilarious. MY FELLOW AMERICANS: 4/5.
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Very funny movie
mofrak12 November 2002
I see by other comments that My Fellow Americans has been compared to Grumpy Old Men and The Odd Couple. Granted, two old guys bickering is not a new plot, but it's one that works very well for both Lemmon and Garner. Jack Lemmon plays Russell Kramer, a typical republican ex-president, while Garner is a Clinton-esque Democrat (although I don't believe party affiliations are mentioned).

There are many funny moments with few jokes that fell flat. I still laugh when I think of the scene where Kramer mentions balls, and then apologizes to his wife (played by Lauren Bacall). She replies with "Please, I'm a politician's wife. I have a set of my own."

I give it 8/10.
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A train wreck of a political satire
Ethan Straffin21 February 2006
What a mess of a movie. I can't remember the last time I saw so many otherwise enjoyable actors rendered so much less fun to watch by incompetent direction and a mediocre script. The gimmick is that Lemmon and Garner are ex-Presidents, see, and Lemmon is the conservative who acts like a liberal and Garner is the liberal who acts like a conservative and they get stranded together and hijincks ensue and they learn important life lessons from their constituents and oh what the heck ever.

I'm not saying it couldn't have been done well -- only that it wasn't in this case. "Wag the Dog," "Bob Roberts," "The American President," and the real-life Presidency of George W. Bush are all superior efforts when it comes to relatively recent features that satirize the White House.
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ross robinson25 March 2004
I thought My Fellow Americans was a fantastic and a funny movie to watch. The movie was very well done i think. The actors who played the presidents were a perfect match. Jack lemmon was fantastic in the movie. He is my favourite actor because i think he is that kind, natural, caring person. Though now he's gone, he will always be remembered when ever someone talks about him, do a speech on him, or even when his movies come on tv again and again and again. He was a great actor and he never wanted to make movies that would be boring to the auidence. He waited for good scripts and he always did the great movies as well as the other actors. My favourite movies he starred in has got the be THE ODD COUPLE, GRUMPY AND GRUMPIER OLD MEN, OUT TO SEA. The great True Story movie he made has got to be Tuesday's with Morrie. I thought that movie was brilliant. It makes me cry whenever i like to watch it, Morrie i think was a great person and he gave Mitch (A pupil he teached) a message, Telling him IF YOU KNOW HOW TO DIE, THEN YOU KNOW HOW TO LIVE. That will be a message to all of us. Thank you Jack, you were a fantastic, a great, true person who was kind, helpful and brilliant. GOD BLESS YOU.
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hilarious spoof of American politicos
helpless_dancer26 March 1999
I laughed all the way through this one. One could call it "Grumpy Old Men Go To Washington", it bore such a resemblance. Two ex-presidents get into hot water when the sitting president sends a rogue NSA agent to eliminate them, to hide one of his shenanigans. The entire film was centered around these 2 old geezers trying to outsmart and elude the agent and his thugs. Very good performances by Lemmon and Garner.
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My Fellow Americans Avoid This Film.
Python Hyena11 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
My Fellow Americans (1996): Dir: Peter Segal / Cast: Jack Lemmon, James Garner, Dan Aykroyd, Lauren Bacall, John Heard: Missed opportunity that rehashes road movie clichés. Title regards unity that must be set by two ex-presidents who do not seem to agree on anything. Jack Lemmon and James Garner play two former Presidents who hate each other but are brought together when scandal threatens their lives. What follows are typical clichés where they bicker before a predictable outcome. Director Peter Segal does well but he has made funnier movies such as The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult. Here the final insult comes at the hands of the screenwriter whose only aid is the effective leads. The production values are cheap and mainly rely on the two leads to spark any life into it. Lemmon and Garner form a fine chemistry. Lemmon is the money saver while Garner is a ladies man. Together they not only must band together, but they also face the harsh reality of life outside the White House. Dan Aykroyd is flat as the current President and Lauren Bacall as a former First Lady utters a few good one liners but otherwise she is underused. The film contains an inspiring message or reality check regarding society and its condition beyond the campaigns. Unfortunately it is a cliché filled road movie less entertaining than a campaign speech. Score: 4 / 10
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Grumpy Old Presidents
SnoopyStyle19 May 2015
Former presidents Republican Russell Kramer (Jack Lemmon) and Democrat Matt Douglas (James Garner) are political enemies. They are forced to work together when they become the target of a conspiracy inside the present administration under President William Haney (Dan Aykroyd). Haney was Kramer's Vice President. Haney and his Chief of Staff Carl Witnaur (Bradley Whitford) plan to frame Kramer for the scandal.

I don't really find the characters that funny or political jokes that sharp. However the two veterans do seem to have fun together. That fun is infectious. As for story, it's far-fetch. It's not until the helicopter that the movie loses all believability. One just has to forget about any realism. I doubt the Secret Service would lose two ex-presidents without much of a peep. There are way too many people after them. It becomes unreal that they keep giving them the slip. I'm not much of a big fan of the 'Grumpy Old Men' franchise and this is very much the same thing.
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Lemmon And Garner Work Well Together
sddavis633 March 2015
Jack Lemmon and James Garner are two veteran actors who rarely disappoint with their performances. Their roles in "My Fellow Americans" are no different. They're both solid and professional, they're appropriately and not outrageously funny and they work well together playing former U.S. Presidents Kramer and Douglas respectively. Political rivals, one a Republican and one a Democrat, they loathe each other. Then, unexpectedly, they find themselves thrust into the middle of a scandal revolving around the current President, played by Dan Aykroyd, who sets out to use all the weapons at his disposal to kill them. Forced to team up, Kramer and Douglas are on the run together, searching for the evidence that will exonerate them.

Yes, Lemmon and Garner were good. But the overall story? Well ... It had potential, but I honestly thought it was a bit weak. Somehow, it just didn't reach out and grab me. I found the pace a little off, and the story not entirely clear. It was worth watching, thanks to Lemmon and Garner, but those performances aside, I found this lacking. (5/10)
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Robert J. Maxwell14 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Interesting premise -- two genuine ex presidents (Lemon and Garner) on the run from a murderous cabal in the White House and the NSA. They accidentally find themselves in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in North Carolina, a state which is not ALL nowhere, and must somehow reach Lemon's Presidential Library in Ohio for the hidden evidence that will save them. The evidence is not there, so they must travel back to Washington somehow and meet the problem head on.

That the evidence isn't there is symptomatic of the film's weaknesses. The whole trip from North Carolina to Ohio was pointless except that it gave the two ex rivals a chance to have comic encounters with red necks, the unemployed, illegal immigrants, and the like. The business with the imminent scandal about kick backs is just a peg to hang a funny adventure on. After enough amusing episodes you forget what the whole deal was about anyway and just enjoy the performances of Lemon and Garner. There are a few brief scenes of credible pathos too. More than once, Lemon almost breaks down when he looks in the mirror and notices that he's aged.

And Garner is given a brief but bombastic flag-waving populist speech that's unconvincing, yet Lemon comments that if Garner had spoken like that during the debates, he, Lemon, would have lost by a wider margin. Lemon is sincere, but it would have been much funnier if he'd said that he, Lemon, would have WON the race. These guys are two throat-cutting rascals and yet the audience is supposed to applaud a lusty, go-get-'em panegyric that's straight out of the Boy Scout's Handbook.

It has its diverting moments and gets a number of chuckles but it's determinedly lower middle-brow. It has some vulgarity but it's not used to great comic effect. The script flirts (twice) with "the f word" but doesn't use it. Mostly the situations and characters are cute. It all turns into an amusing action movie at the end -- at the happy end.

The two principals are appealing, one a Republican, the other a Democrat, but the cracks are equally distributed between, say, Kennedy's womanizing and Ford's clumsiness. Garner is the more likable of the two, perhaps because he looks and sounds more like a political manipulator, and perhaps because it's sad to see how old and stiff Jack Lemon has become. Two ladies are on brief and welcome display, both stunning: Marg Helgenberger and Sela Ward. The most compelling character is the villainous Everett McGill, the spawn of Demos. He has a skull-like face and his hair almost reaches his eyebrows. The arrangement doesn't leave much room for a forehead.

It's not an insulting flick. It's not bad. But you can almost hear the joints creaking as it reaches for laughs, many of which elude it.
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This review may contain spoilers
stellaartois31113 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Who would of thought that two old men, well known actors Jack Lemmon and James Garner had such a sense of humor and could pull off such a funny, entertaining movie. Especially, having to play roles as two former Presidents of The U.S. Which of course, everyone thinks President's are always serious and would never say such things, like these two did. I have to admit, the beginning of the movie was quite boring and it lagged. Finally after awhile the fun begins and I could not stop laughing at these two the whole time they cracked jokes about each other. Every time something went wrong in their journey to solve the "mystery" that was going to put both of them in a dilemma,again they both could not help but to take cheap shots at each other, which were all hilarious.

I was expecting Actor Dan Akroyd to be the main comedian in this movie but his part was far different from all his movies he ever acted in. That of course did not make a difference how funny this movie was. Once again, hail to the chiefs and all their funny moments throughout the movie. I definitely give this movie a 10!
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My fellow Americans
erickperez687 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Great movie that really captured my attention. when the film started it was kind of boring, but then the action began. i liked the part where they got into the gay march.what i most liked about this movie was when they found this family at the picnic and they stole their car. the appeared as nothing happened and the family didn't do anything to stop them. After a while they knew that a baby was in the back seat and they had to go back. In the whole movie i was thinking that they couldn't get caught. there were just a few exceptions, for example the beginning, it began kind of boring, i would change and make a funny part for the beginning. it was a really good movie and i will recommend it. I'm voting 8 out of 10 because as i said, the beginning was not that good.
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