The American President

1995, Movie, PG-13, 115 mins


Handsome, intelligent, witty, humane, sexy, principled President Michael Douglas... are you beginning to see the problem? Rob Reiner's awkward, derivative film is further evidence of the depressing degeneration of American romantic comedy, predicated on the dubious notion that Douglas and Annette Bening -- whom we're meant to swallow as a brilliant, ruthless lobbyist -- are the sort of sparkling, magnetic couple whose foibles are ipso facto engaging. Chief of Staff Martin Sheen lurks, Domestic Policy Advisor Michael J. Fox -- the little liberal that could -- stamps his foot and swears, conservative bogeyman Richard Dreyfuss fulminates and Press Secretary Anna Deveare Smith wonders whatever possessed her to come to Hollywood in the first place (money, honey). It's meant as a big bouquet for Bill Clinton from the oxymoronic Hollywood Left (who are apparently so far out of touch as to think Bubba's some kind of liberal), but the effect is finally self-defeating. Douglas's Chief Executive is no vote-getter; he's a charmless, irritating boob who can't even order flowers for a woman. With friends like Douglas and Reiner, Clinton doesn't need Rush Limbaugh. leave a comment

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