5.9/10
14,227
46 user 16 critic

The Distinguished Gentleman (1992)

A conman discovers during a "job" that US Congress is where the money is. "Name recognition" gets him elected. Will he develop a conscience?

Director:

Jonathan Lynn

Writers:

Marty Kaplan (story), Jonathan Reynolds (story) | 1 more credit »

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4 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Eddie Murphy ... Thomas Jefferson Johnson
Lane Smith ... Dick Dodge
Sheryl Lee Ralph ... Miss Loretta
Joe Don Baker ... Olaf Andersen
Victoria Rowell ... Celia Kirby
Grant Shaud ... Arthur Reinhardt
Kevin McCarthy ... Terry Corrigan
Charles S. Dutton ... Elijah Hawkins
Victor Rivers ... Armando
Chi McBride ... Homer (as Chi)
Sonny Jim Gaines Sonny Jim Gaines ... Van Dyke
Noble Willingham ... Zeke Bridges
Gary Frank ... Iowa
Daniel Benzali ... 'Skeeter' Warburton
Cynthia Harris ... Vera Johnson
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Storyline

In the conniving world of politics, even a professional shyster like Thomas Jefferson Johnson (Eddie Murphy) can find himself outmatched. After using name recognition to get elected, Johnson enjoys many of the same financial perks as other politicians. However, while investigating the connection between electric companies and cancer in young children, he unexpectedly develops a conscience. Unfortunately, fellow Congressman Dick Dodge (Lane Smith) isn't about to let him rock the boat.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From con man to congressman

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and a scene of sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Jonathan Lynn - Director

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 December 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

De estafador a senador See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$46,666,502
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first time since The Golden Child (1986) where Eddie Murphy didn't write the story of his own movie. See more »

Goofs

Despite the threats to have Jefferson removed from congress, there is nothing in the Constitution or in house or senate rules that states a person with a criminal history cannot serve their term if elected. See more »

Quotes

Thomas Jefferson Johnson: We're not going to show you Jeff Johnson waving a flag. We're not going to show you Jeff Johnson kissing babies. We're not going to show you Jeff Johnson doing anything because you already know what Jeff Johnson can do. Tomorrow, vote Jeff Johnson. The name you know.
See more »


Soundtracks

THE THUNDERER
Written by John Philip Sousa
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User Reviews

A pretty obvious satire but enjoyable nonetheless and featuring a mostly on form Murphy
4 August 2006 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Thomas Jefferson Johnson is a small time con artist who realises the money in politics when he overhears Congressman Jeff Johnson during one of his scams. When the Congressman dies between his secretary's legs in his office while "poling the electorate" Thomas sees his opportunity. Dropping his first name in the hope that name recognition will see him through, Thomas and his crew go to work and it is not long before they slide their way to Washington. Once in town he gets on the gravy train straight away – joining his colleagues in Congress, he is soon up to his neck in contributions and fund raisers but is this really what it is all about?

Although it starts out with plenty of big, easy targets the first half of the film is lively and quite funny. The broad satire is never that cutting or intelligent but it does the job for an Eddie Murphy comedy. Unfortunately, around the halfway mark the obvious plot suddenly has Thomas develop a heart and the film grinds to a halt. Happily it gets its senses back in the final section and is a return to the lively first part – this is not to say that it is brilliant because it isn't, but it is amusing and pretty enjoyable apart from the narrative arch having a massive hole in the middle of it.

The cast are mixed dependant on their material. Murphy himself is on good form. His con artist character suits his on screen personae and he works the dialogue really well – he is all at sea when he has to convince the audience of the change in his character but he moves through that as quickly as he can. The supporting cast are all in his shadow on this but at least there are plenty of famous faces. Smith, Dutton, McBride, Baker, Ralph and McCarthy all add an ensemble feel to the film even if it is very much Murphy's vehicle. Lynn's direction is OK but he can't do much of real intelligence with the basic tools presented to him by the writers.

Overall this is not the sharpest of satires but the big simple targets are still enjoyably hit. The middle section is poor but Murphy ensures that the majority of it will be good enough to please his fans even if it could have been so much better.


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