Dave

1993, Movie, PG-13, 110 mins

Review

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A winning blend of MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON and BEING THERE, DAVE gives Kevin Kline the best comic role of his screen career.

Kline plays the title character, a presidential look-alike asked to double for the Chief Executive for "security" reasons. (As Dave waves to the crowd en route to his limo, the President is taking a very secret meeting with an attractive secretary.) When the Prez suffers a massive stroke at a rather delicate moment, White House Chief of Staff Bob Alexander (Frank Langella) installs Dave in the Oval Office, rather than allow "boy scout" Vice-President Nance (Ben Kingsley) to assume power.

Gary Ross's script is a perfect showcase for Kline, who gleefully inhabits his dual role as the cynical, sleazy President and his earnest, naive double. He also gets fantastic support: Sigourney Weaver at her most icily bitchy as the First Lady ("Why couldn't you have died from a stroke like everyone else?"); Frank Langella as the suave, Machiavellian Chief of Staff; and Charles Grodin as a small-time accountant who, summoned to the White House by his old friend Dave, trims $650 million off the budget over a bratwurst dinner.

Add a host of cameo appearances by real-life personalities--"Tip" O'Neill applauds the President's new-found energy; J.F.K. director Oliver Stone is convinced the whole thing is a conspiracy--and the result is the funniest, savviest political comedy to come our way in some time. leave a comment

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