Head of State (2003)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy  |  28 March 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 14,593 users   Metascore: 44/100
Reviews: 80 user | 43 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

When a presidential candidate dies unexpectedly in the middle of the campaign, Washington, D.C. alderman, Mays Gilliam is unexpectedly picked as his replacement.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Senator Bill Arnot
Bernard Cooper
Mr. Earl
Nate's Girl


Mays Gilliam, a Washington D.C. neighborhood Alderman, is about to be red-lined out of his job. But after the untimely death of the party frontrunner, Gilliam is plucked from obscurity, and thrust into the limelight as his party's nominee--for President of the United States. The players in Gilliam's life include: Mitch Gilliam, his unsophisticated older brother who becomes his running mate; Kim, his ex-girlfriend who had once dumped him, but who now has a sudden change of heart as she sees a chance at becoming First Lady; Martin Geller, his campaign manager; Lisa Clark, the woman who truly believes in Gilliam; and Debra Lassiter, the woman who doesn't have faith in his candidacy, and is serving as his reluctant advisor. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The only thing white is the house.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language, some sexuality and drug references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

28 March 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Chef de l'état  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$13,503,484 (USA) (28 March 2003)


$37,788,228 (USA) (6 June 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Chris Rock got the idea for this story from the 1984 Walter Mondale/Geraldine A. Ferraro ticket, in which the democrats thought that since they had no chance of winning against Ronald Reagan/George Bush, they might as well make a historic first so they can win support for the next election. So they ran Ferraro as the first ever woman vice president candidate for their party (and lost). See more »


After Mays sees his ex-girlfriend in the restaurant sharing a drink and it starts to rain, the reflection in the windows show that the sky is clear and blue, so it's very unlikely to be raining. See more »


Mays Gilliam: I asked my niece the other day what 4 plus 4 was. She said 44.
Crowd Member: It is!
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, it lists many famous politicians, then in parenthesis it says "(Are not in this movie)". See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Bernie Mac/Good Charlotte (2003) See more »


The Roof Is on Fire
Written by Jerry Bloodrock, Selite Evans, Richard Fowler, Charles Pettiford & Gregory Wigfall
See more »

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User Reviews

Written, directed and starring the Rock....Chris Rock
26 January 2005 | by (Singapore) – See all my reviews

In this film, the Vice President, who's the front-runner candidate for office in a coming election, often dispenses with below campaign sound bite at whatever opportunity he gets:

"I have been the Vice President for 8 years. I am a war veteran. And I'm the cousin of Sharon Stone. God bless America...and no place else."

With lines like these, what's not to like about Head of State?

Here's the premise of the film. Both the the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate of a "losing" party died when their planes crashed into each other (don't ask). With the election just weeks away, the party decided to intentionally look for a "loser" replacement candidate; one who will lose at a pegged percentage (not too much, not too little), and yet is capable of winning some "leverage" points for the next round of election. And they found Chris Rock. Enough said.

Pardon the cliché, but Head of State has to be seen to be believed. Hell, just its opening credits alone are LOL already. If you asked me, I would think this flick's mixed bag of humour (from no-holds barred low brow to smart insightful attacks on American electoral politics) worked only because it has been delivered the only way someone as comic-attuned as Chris Rock knew how. The business of making people laugh is a tough one. And IMO, Chris Rock is one of the best in the business.

Can you imagine a fluffier, more convoluted Bulworth crossed with the crude but often logical sensibilities of South Park - The movie? If yes, proceed to imagine lines hurled at you that's as zingy as a Kevin Smith vehicle (both the good and the really bad ones) and blatant slapstick's as throwaway LOL as those Airplane/ Naked Gun movies? Ladies and germs, if you can imagine all that, congrats! Because that is Head of State for you, nutshell cracked wide open. But whether you will swallow the nuts or not (I always chew first, then swallow), will depend largely on your threshold and expectation already.

We need not reminders that we all live in ludicrous times now, do we? So why not accord some of that time laughing at it all, relishing in the enjoyment of a film as ludicrously conceived as this one? Personally, I look upon Head of State as a brilliant political comedy. Its charm actually lies in its greater interest in comedy than politics. I am delighted to see this film juggle sly political wish fulfilment with the conscious play-it-up for laughs. Sometimes, strictly for laughs. So yes, I am won over and willingly lap this flick up.

Make no mistake, Head of State is a hit and miss movie. But its hits far exceed its misses. In fact, its hit rate is almost comparable to (and arguably higher than) the raunch-assisted Scary Movie. Its (sporadic) intelligence however, far surpasses the entire Waymon Bros output combined.

Hmm....its plain to see that the manic sinnerman love this movie. I have not been this entertained in very long time. Hence I shall willingly dispense you all this flick recommendation. If one pop this title into a player at any random night, I do think it will provide willing folks with an antidote release from the blues of a hellish school/work day prior. So people, go hunt for the Head of State now (pun unintended).

My word is out. God bless America....and no place else!

7 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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I enjoyed this movie..I laughed Jettor
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