A high school teacher's personal life becomes complicated as he works with students during the school elections, particularly with an obsessive overachiever determined to become student body president.
Tracy Flick is running unopposed for this year's high school student election. But school civics teacher Jim McAllister has a different plan. Partly to establish a more democratic election, and partly to satisfy some deep personal anger toward Tracy, Jim talks popular varsity football player Paul Metzler to run for president as well. Chaos ensues. Written by
R. P. Falvey <email@example.com>
When MTV Pictures sent Alexander Payne the novel in 1997 to gauge his interest, he told them he didn't want to produce a teen comedy. After talking with them, they convinced them that the story in essence was a dark, adult comedy disguised as a teen comedy. Buying that argument, he agreed to do the movie. See more »
When Mr. McAlister leaves the Family Inn hotel, the sun is setting and you can clearly see that the trees in the distance are bare with no leaves. The next scene when he is pulling into his driveway, the tree in the back yard is full. See more »
[a disabled, wheelchair-bound student is giving a speech for the election]
And even if I can't really stand up for you, I will.
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The end titles include four "The producers wish to thank the following:" cards, one "Very Special Thanks to:" card, and one "Extra Very Special Thanks to:" card. See more »
Alexander Payne's uncompromising look at highschool politics. Foul-mouthed, sharp and funny
With me, Alexander Payne can do no wrong. Before he entered Hollywood's big league of directors with ABOUT SCHMIDT and SIDEWAYS, he made this remarkable film about a highschool election. But this is hardly your average highschool flick, this is an intelligently written, foul-mouthed film, filled with colorful characters and plenty of laughs in the process.
In a pitch-perfect role, Reese Witherspoon is Tracy Flick, one of those irritating girls that are always in the front row, always raise their hand and wanna do something for the sake of the school, read, for their own resume. Tracy Flick is one of those, a fiercely calculating careerist who will stop at nothing to get the main prize, the office of student body president at Carver High. Since she's running unopposed, nothing seems in her way at getting what she wants, again. History teacher and student government adviser Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick, Ferris Bueller reversed) seems content with his life, but is worn out by his love-less marriage, and by the plight of his best friend and colleague, sacked for sleeping with consenting but under age Tracy Flick. With the coming elections, McAllister is appalled by the prospect of working closely with this little nagging career bitch, and charged with overseeing the proceedings, discreetly sponsors a rival candidate, dumb but popular jock Paul Metzler (Chris Klein), to enter the election. But when Paul's sister Tammy (Jessica Campbell), an embittered and unpopular girl announces her candidacy, the election becomes a really back-biting and nasty affair, with Jim McAllister getting more than he bargained for.
I think this film might appeal even more to adults than teenagers. If you like Alexander Payne's uncompromising approach to his subjects, this will definitely be up your alley, with everything from lesbianism to adultery thrown in the mix. Ideally casted all the way, with Matthew Broderick, after a number of uninteresting roles in lame movies, really making his mark. He gives his role a sort of understatement that makes Mr. McAllister a hopelessly tragic, but utterly lovable loser.
Camera Obscura --- 9/10
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