7 January 2013 | secondtake
Funny, sweet, and totally totally feel good
A hilarious wishful movie about what we really want our president to be. Kevin Kline is perfect in the role--both roles--a little goofy but totally believable. The rest of the cast doesn't much matter. They are decent if never amazing. It's a lightweight movie and to demand much beyond the gags and feel good qualities isn't fair to it.
Does it hold up twenty years after it was made? Oddly, yes. You might not even notice it's a bit outdated on the fringes. Politics in some ways has not changed a bit. And the idea of body doubles for the U.S. President is still in currency (see "Vantage Point" for starters). Of course the notion of a secretive government that might pull of a huge scam isn't far-fetched at all (except of course that you hope it actually is far-fetched outside of Hollywood--see "Wag the Dog" for starters).
There is also the use of lots of real people to bolster the idea that it's real, or could be real. Some are identified (senators and other celebrities from the era) so if you don't recognize them you should at least trust that these people are not actors.
But there are a number (like 20 or 30) of other "real" people playing themselves, including Oliver Stone. In case you don't know him, Stone is being interviewed on Larry King Live (with the real Larry King) and he says that they've studied photos of the "new" president and that it's a conspiracy. This is really one of the many little hilarious lines because Stone, of course, is famous for hatching or nurturing conspiracy theories for his movies. His "JFK" came out just two years earlier.
The other fun one most people will miss (and this dates me) is running into an unidentified Tip O'Neill on the streets. He was the real speaker of the house, and it's a great little three seconds. He dies the following year.
Okay, the movie isn't brilliant. But it never gets stale, and it's well made enough to survive even a curmudgeon without popcorn. It'll make you laugh.