Time: 110 mins.
Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay.
Politics and comedy aren't usually such companionable bedfellows, but Kline and company use them both to their best advantage in this funny and intelligent film. The premise starts out silly enough. Kline plays Dave, a job recruiter with an uncanny resemblance to the current President (also played by Kline), who is coerced into impersonating the pres to avert a major scandal that would plunge the country into chaos. His time in the White House is meant to be temporary, but a twist of fate forces him to take on the role in a more permanent capacity until White House advisors can solve the dilemma in a satisfactory manner. The situation gets even more crazy when Dave decides to actually try to fix the country's many problems, which doesn't sit well with President Mitchell's team, especially his Chief of Staff (played by Langella) who were using their power for their own gain.
The film gets somewhat heavy-handed at the end with its "let's help the people" message and the inner-office intrigue, but for the most part is a cleverly written story about the workings of our government and the toll it takes on a man's soul. Kline is wonderful in both roles as the kind and caring regular Joe and the arrogant, unfeeling leader of the free world. It's one of his best films to date, giving him the chance to really strut his stuff. Langella gives the other standout performance as the corrupt chief of staff, who isn't about to let some regular Joe ruin his plans. Weaver has the thankless role of playing the First Lady, a woman whose marriage looks good on the outside, but is actually a mass of bitterness and regret. She gives the part class and heart, making her a woman we can all relate to. All in all, DAVE is a first-rate effort that will make you laugh as well as think.