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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Not bad, Not bad at all

Author: Smegger from Gloucestershire
3 May 1999

Typical Randy Quaid film, appealing to all, has been done before, but what the heck. Young kid helps out the "most powerful man in the world" by helping him relate to the American public, etc. Randy Quaid seems to be the only "star" in this comedy, and so really carries the whole film himself.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Disney's third White House movie is a winner.

Author: SanDiego from The Beach
4 April 2000

Well, Disney has gone and made a terrific trilogy of sorts. In 1996, they released "First Kid," about the President's son and his relationship with his body guard. It was funny, sweet, and made life in the White House accessible, fun, and full of adventure. In 1998, Disney made "My Date with the President's Daughter," an equally enjoyable movie that also showed the troubles and tribulations of being a 'first kid' as well as the parental side of being a President. In that movie, having the presidential parents come together with the regular parents of his daughter's "date" out of real concern and not for a photo opportunity was something you don't see every day.

Disney has now made yet another wonderful film that explores a President who is both out of touch with the public and his daughter. It takes a regular kid to teach the President the art of communicating to everyone else. Randy Quaid is ideal as the type of President running for re-election who uses words that William Buckley or Ben Stein might use to confuse a debate opponent. He quickly becomes a Ronald Reagan type of President using folksy and middle-class examples to describe the economy, the defense, and the role of a world leader. He uses the kid's description of game shows to describe defense spending: buying a four hundred dollar hammer because of a defense contract is similar to being forced to buy an overpriced vacuum on a Wheel of Fortune type game show; wouldn't you rather have the money and buy want you wanted where you could get it cheaper? Clever. Randy Quaid lampooned Ronald Reagan on Saturday Night Live, but here he seems to capture his spirit, or as the kid describes to the President: not everyone may agree with you, but at least they can relate to what you are saying. The kid also teaches the President how to bowl in the White House bowling alley (who knew?) which eventually becomes a lesson in life itself. He tells the President there are two ways of going for the 7-10 split, playing it safe and just knocking one down, or taking a chance and risk a gutter ball by going for both.

There's a lot of holes in this type of fantasy, but that's not important. This is a message movie meant to make a point and inspire. The point is 'why should politicians care about you if you don't care about politics.' A second point is 'politicians are hopelessly out of touch with the people who elect them.' I hope Disney continues to use the White House as an area for family humor, they do a pretty good job of it. Now, if only someone will slip the real candidates these films maybe they will get the point too.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Unrealistic but smashing entertainment

8/10
Author: Andreas Niedermayer (leeds1@gmx.at) from Klagenfurt, Austria
29 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is great. No, not because it deals with a realistic background or a too sophisticated storyline, but because it is very entertaining and elaborates on a far-fetched but likable idea.

Kenny Witkowski (played by Bill Switzer) is the protagonist. He is around 13 and dealing with the same problems almost all other kids his age have to deal with. His father is Jack Witkowski, an ordinary store worker; his family thus belongs to the lower Middle Class.

Then we have the President of the United States, who is currently running for re-election. This character is played by Randy Quaid. The latest polls show him way behind his opponent, who seems to have the better election platform and a higher credibility among ordinary citizens. The President is fairly depressed about the gradually growing loss of support. While struggling with this pressure and trying to find some fresh vigor for his campaign, he surfs the Net and encounters a character called "Big Jack W" in a chat-room.

This "Big Jack W" is of course Kenny. The two of them start a conversation, which finally results in Kenny giving the President (who uses a nickname too, thus the boy does not know who he is writing to) some ideas on political issues (taxes or commerce, I am not sure). The President finds the ideas very clear and easily understandable. So, in his next debate, during a situation in which his opponent challenges him and he does not really know how to react, he uses the simple-minded comparison Kenny came up with, which sounds so naive and utterly blunt that everyone is stunned. However, by using these simple comparisons, the President is able to connect to the public, and his approval rates gradually improve.

Soon afterwards he is stunned himself when he finds out that his political adviser is just an ordinary boy. However, he wants to meet Kenny, so he arranges a White House guided tour for his school class, during which he "kidnaps" him for a while. Kenny's ideas are so inspiring that the President invites him on a regular basis, until his political opponent finds out the truth.

The story is simply outstanding in its conception and wit. It is very entertaining to watch the President using Kenny's simple perceptions of politics for his agenda. Even foreign secret services start investigations on the mysterious "Big Jack W", which leads to hilarious scenes with Kenny's dad and some Russian and Chinese agents.

The movie is not to be taken too seriously – however, its last third is surprisingly sincere and deals with the President struggling with abandoning his "kid adviser", who has become his friend by then. Kenny again finds himself increasingly alienated from his friends at school and eventually exploited and betrayed by the "Chief". His parents of course do not believe him when he wants to tell the truth, and his grades get worse as well.

So the last part of the movie requires the President to show some character and stand by Kenny, who he owes so much to. It is again an exceedingly entertaining scene when he visits Kenny and pardons - as the nation's chief executive - the house arrest his parents have imposed on him. Then again, he delivers a very honest speech in which he addresses aspects such as courage and credibility, honesty and trust.

So this movie has a deeper message, which shines through the entertainment aspect and makes it a wonderful experience. It is the combination of a witty story and interesting themes, all mixed up in an entertaining movie for the whole family, which makes this production a worthwhile experience.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great and nice movie

8/10
Author: fast_train82 from Kitchener, Canada
4 November 2000

Mail to the Chief was a great movie, and I was not disappointed. It shows the people you can meet on the internet. It was a great uplifting movie especially if the audaience is youthful, but great for any age group. It shows the talent in Canadian movies. Dan McNaughton

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0 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Exceedingly mediocre.

Author: president242007 from Australia
12 April 2004

While I would consider that the plot and storyline of this movie may have had potential, the script and the acting essentially fails to deliver and in my view fails to keep the viewer engaged. The plot has been done before and needed some creativity and substance that is unfortunately lacking in this movie. The script is weak and the dialogue seems somewhat strained and forced and none of the characters are inspiring and even the stereotypes of the advisers and those around the President are flat and devoid of any realistic qualities. While the actors may have performed better with improved scripts, the lack of such a concept means that they cannot even do that. Even for a movie targeted toward younger audiences, this one falls flat on its face

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0 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Piece of Crap

1/10
Author: becketms from Ontario Canada
27 January 2002

I had the destinct displeasure of seeing this movie. A sappy retarded plot that only ill tempered chimps could come up with. I mean only someone both stupid and mad at the world could have come up with this incredibly retarded plot. I was looking through the database killing some time and I saw that some people actually like this movie. I'm writing this to prevent people from seeing this movie. The other people who reviewed this 'movie' must be the ones who made it and are just trying to trick people into seeing it.

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