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"Man of the Year" tells the story of Tom Dobbs (Robin Williams) a
political comedian (like Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert) who has his
own television show. On his show he talks about all sorts of things but
his main focus are political issues which he is very opinionated about.
One day on his show, a fan from the audience raises the idea that Dobbs
should run for President of the United States. After that episode
aired, millions flocked to the web to create various petitions and
voice their opinions on why Dobbs would make a great candidate for the
President for the United States. A few weeks later, Dobbs decides to
run for President and low and behold wins the election. Everything
seems to be going as planned until a woman by the name of Eleanor Green
(Laura Linney) shows up and starts some controversy regarding his
position. A funny yet serious political thriller ensues
Man anyone walking into this film expecting to see a brainless comedy will surely be disappointed. I always wonder how some people are film marketers when I see how misleading their marketing campaigns. "Man of the Year" is a great example of bad and misleading marketing, because everything from the poster, to the trailer, to the online advertisements makes this movie look and feel like a comedy. I would honestly have to say about 1/3 of the film is funny while the rest of it plays off as a political thriller that makes good arguments and allows its audience to think. I kind of wonder in this case if the marketing was done on purpose since this film addresses pretty serious issues in-between its comedy routine.
But enough about marketing, lets get down to the film itself.
I really liked "Man of the Year" even though I was expecting to see a comedy instead of a serious film. One of the many things I will give this film credit for is that the film does a decent job switching between comedy and drama even though at first it seems a little awkward. I really think that after you figure this out that the movie is going to be more of a political thriller than a comedy you get comfortable with it. Some may not because they are lead to believe that they are seeing a comedy and don't understand what this film is trying to say in the end but for those people they can blame the marketers for not advertising this film right.
"Man of the Year" talks about a lot of things and seems to have a very strong opinion. As Tom Dobbs speaks he is saying things that need to be said and isn't about candy coating them. I also think the whole political subplot, while most critics say hurt the film probably again because of the misleading marketing, was very good. The idea of computerize voting has been tossed around the last few years and with all the problems computers have the issue being addressed in this film could surely be realistic. Also the control big businesses have over voting also gets addressed.
As far as acting goes, I think everyone involved did a good job. Robin Williams had a chance to be funny yet serious at the same time by playing Tom Dobbs. Some say that Williams has overstayed his welcome as a comedian but I personally still think he is funny and he's a good serious actor as well. This is probably one of the few occasions though that we get to see him go back and forth from serious to funny and I think it works well. Also it's nice to see Lewis Black co-star in a decent film. Again I like Black when he appears on "The Daily Show" and does stand up however most of the films he has been in were awful. This was a good movie for him because I think his political views fit in with the story that director Barry Levinson was trying to convey. Laura Linney is a fine addition to the cast and proves once again that she is a very good actress and lastly Christopher Walken and Jeff Goldblum both do a very good job as always with this roles handed to them.
"Man of the Year" was written and directed by Barry Levinson, the man who has brought us such films as "Rain Man," "Good Morning Vietnam," and "Wag the Dog." Levinson does a fine job writing the film and directing it. Like I said I know a lot of critics didn't like the whole political thriller aspect of the film but I thought it fit in nicely. It was actually nice to watch a mainstream movie that allowed me to both think and laugh at the same time. Barry Levinson did a fine job with this film.
In the end, don't go into this film expecting to see the movie that the commercials are selling you. It does have laughs but at the same time it plays off more as a political drama. It's not as stupid or silly as the marketing campaign leads you to believe. I really liked the fact that this film that this film wasn't a typical Hollywood film. It tried to be a comedy and a serious drama at the same time and worked at least for me. I like the fact that the film didn't really tone down any of the issues it addressed nor did it have a typical Hollywood ending. I was trying to call the ending from the get go but surprisingly it didn't end the way I thought which made me happy. It's a movie that will make you laugh but then a few minutes later allow you to think and wonder what's going to happen next. I think its a good movie that will be hurt by its bad marketing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I completely disagree with the other comments! I too saw this film at an early screening and found it quite enjoyable. Robin Williams is in top form. True, the tone is familiar, but it is Williams of Good Morning Vietnam: smart, funny, on point. After too many dark turns, Williams is finally back to what he does best. The supporting actors give great performances, especially Laura Linney and Chris Walken. Chris plays himself, as usual, but as the "agent" to the next president he was a delight each time on screen. Lewis Black plays only himself basically, but he is wonderfully well used here. There is also a fun turn by Jeff Goldblum. The movie is more than what the trailer suggests, as well. The movie is funny, but it is not a pure comedy as suggested. It has a bit of a thriller line, which everyone should seriously consider, especially if you pay attention to the newspaper.
Okay, I wasn't sure about this movie prior to going. I read the four or
five reviews and they said it wasn't a comedy. Therefore, I expected it
to be a thriller like they said.
Well, they weren't exactly correct. It is funny, and no, not all the humor is in the trailer. I agree, this is not just a comedy, it's a dramady (drama/comedy) But if you know that going in, you won't be as disappointed. It is similar to Barry Levinsons other comedies, funny but also has some deep drama.
This movie was advertised wrong, much like The Village. But it is still a good movie
When taken as a whole for its ideas and dissection of the current 2-party system and political process, I think this is a great film. Granted the movie was not the comedy I expected, but once I got over that this film really made me think. So much of what we see and hear in regards to any election is such a joke. There is in particular a debate scene in this movie that I felt was a masterful critique of our political debates and how policies are "discussed" at them. I encourage anyone who thinks our process is fine to go see this film. If you want something to laugh at however, Robin Williams and Christopher Walken are not their usual selves. In this movie they show us that the truth hurts, not that the truth is funny.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Man of the Year reviewed by Sam Osborn
Frustrating is a good word to describe Man of the Year; frustrating because one half of this film shines. This half moves with ease and works off the unshakable glow of Robin Williams. The other halfthe evil half, if you willworks more like an infection: relatively harmless at first, but fatal and sort of repulsive when left untreated. What could have been a sweetly charming comedy is left suspending all means of reality to turn this wickedly funny political affair into a silly farce of a thriller.
Robin Williams plays Tom Dobbs, a kind of fictional counterpart to Jon Stewart. Like Mr. Stewart, Dobbs hosts a nightly comedy talk show that discusses the absurd nature of current political news. In Dobbs' worldand more than likely, in oursmore people obtain their knowledge of current events through Dobbs' nightly sketch than from valid news sources. He's so popular in fact, that when one member of the audience suggests that he run for president in the upcoming election Dobbs takes it seriously. His campaign is fostered through a grassroots internet movement that manages to put him on thirteen of the fifty states' ballots and into the last of three national debates between the two party-aligned candidates.
This segment requires that, yes, we suspend some belief in Director/Writer Barry Levinson's vision of reality. Could a talk show host with no political background really rise to such presidential heights? Probably not. But it's plausible enough. The true deception comes with the ornery sub-plot that Levinson plunks down like an anchor into this prim and simple tale. A new voting system has been implemented into the upcoming election, created by the corporation Delacroy. Eleanor Green (Laura Linney), an employee for Delacroy happens to find a glitch in the voting system only weeks before the national election. Her alarm is muffled by the legal head of the corporation, Alan Stewart (Jeff Goldblum), and her reputation put to tatters by a cocktail injection of illegal drugs a shadowy man sent from Delacroy gives her. And so when Dobbs wins the presidency by way of the glitch in the Delacroy voting system, Eleanor must evade assassination from corporate hit men and alert Dobbs to his undeserving position.
I think it must first be said that I'm rarely one to penalize a film for lack of realism. In my opinion, a suspension of reality must align with the function of the film. Spiderman, for instance, doesn't require many laws of physics, while a film like Apollo 13 does. With Man of the Year, I have no issue overlooking Tom Dobbs rising to Presidential Elect, if it's a concession needed for the film to exist. At the same time, however, I find it difficult to believe that Ms. Green discovered the glitch in the Delacroy voting system by inadvertently testing the program at population volumes similar to those used during actual elections. The glitch is an alphabetical problem: candidates with pairs of letters that appear earlier in that alphabet will inevitably win the election (Dobbs beat Mills, for instance). Don't you think that the American Government might have tested this little gem of computer programming before relying on it to monitor the nation's votes? I think so.
Should I be easier on this small puddle of disbelief? Well, I would if the subplot seemed at all necessary; which it doesn't. The Delacroy plot begins as an annoying thread but weaves itself into the delicate fabric of the entire tale. Soon, instead of following Mr. Dobbs' witty rise to power, we follow Ms. Green as she partakes in car chases, whispered phone calls, and FBI posturing. It's not exciting, it isn't thrilling, and it's certainly not tragic. Don't even ask if these segments are funny. When Dobbs could be grappling with the American political system and driving the film into a quiet and smarmily hilarious character comedy, Director Levinson chickens out and plays it dumb with this Delacroy farce.
It's all just very frustrating, I suppose. Christopher Walken, Lewis Black, and Robin Williams are a comedic force. And allowing Williams to drift off into his own stand-up material was an ingenious creative decision. Mr. Levinson even has a convincing grasp on current politics and manages dozens of jokes surrounding them. And so why fall back on this Delacroy nonsense? Bah! i say. What a shame. Rating: 2 out of 4
This movie was advertised as a comedy but was far more serious than the trailers made it out to be. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the movie, but was expecting more laughs. Great performances from Robin Williams and Laura Linney. Worth seeing, but don't go expecting to be rolling on the floor. The movie left me wondering what it would be like if Robin Williams character was a real person that was running for president. Would we elect a comedian? I doubt it, unfortunately. That kind of stark honesty is something greatly lacking today. This is a movie that I will be adding to my DVD library as soon as it comes out on DVD. The movie has heart.
A political satire of a comedian (Williams) who after dissing the political campaigns and presidents is forced into the running. But shockingly we wins and makes a mockery of the office. "Man of the Year" is not the funniest movie nor the best but in small doses it does work. Williams again teaming with Levinson after a hit with "Good Morning, Vietnam". The two seem to have a great chemistry and work off each other. I am not comparing them to Scorsese and DeNiro but you can get the picture. Although I wouldn't quite say to rush out there and see the movie in theaters I would recommend renting it. This movie is a comedy but also has a great satire, please if you like movies like "Scary Movie 4" this is not for you, take your brain with you to see it. - ***
Robin Williams is a genius. One of the best comedians in the world. He really shows off in this one, cracking jokes left and right as the talk show comedian Tom Dobbs. From the previous this looked like it would be a side-splitting laugh fest. And it was funny. But there were a lot of serious parts in the movie that I was not expecting. I would describe it as a drama/comedy. But it's still worth the money to see, and I still found it to be almost everything that I expected. Robin Williams is at his best, along with the famous Christopher Walken. They play a very good team in this movie and I was actually shocked to see how well the two were able to work together. I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a light-hearted movie.
(contains spoilers) Tom Dobbs (Robin Williams) is a television talk
show host gone political candidate; a Jon Stewart type that takes the
plunge into contributing rather than heckling. This part of the movie
works. Dobbs is credible, serious, and uses humor not for substance but
to mock the ridiculous nature of the current lobby-ridden two party
system. The political solutions offered by Dobbs are the standard third
party 'common sense, but not too deep' solutions. Tom Dobbs wins and
becomes the President Elect.
But the movie is flawed with the 'other half'. Laura Linney portrays a computer programmer who discovers an error in the new, nationwide electronic voting system - one that caused Dobbs to win. She reports the error to her CEO ...who torpedoes her email, and then sets her up as a drug abusing burnout who may have caused the problem herself. Linney flies to Washington to inform Dobbs that the election was a sham - but them doesn't tell him.
That's right, a sharp left turn away from suspension of disbelief and straight on to 'beg pardon? why?' It's clear that Linney's character understands that she MUST tell the truth, but for reasons we can only speculate, the writer chose to waste thirty minutes of screen time as she develops an emotional bond with Dobbs before telling him.
The movie would have been much better had Linney's character revealed the problem right away, and then collectively the 'good people' spent their time solving the problem. Instead, the 'good people' spend their time doubting each other (while we are left to doubt the script writer).
It's still enjoyable in parts, but maybe wait until DVD so you can skip the second act.
The movie is more of a mockumentary of corruption in the whole American system. The correlations of those who vote who do not matter is so proved in the machines that end of voting a comedian to the oval office. Politicians are such a joke that we almost need a comic to represent us as we have been laughed at for years around the world. Bushism's have become a way of life for Americans and will be the only thing left after he leaves office none to soon. Oddly the only person of honesty is someone not even elected to the position and tells the truth in the end. The story is very subtle and if you go to it for laughs, it ain't happening. Leaves a lot for thought. Overall I enjoyed it.
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