(director: Rob Reiner; screenwriter: Aaron Sorkin; cinematographer: John Seale; editor: Bob Leighton; music: Marc Shaiman; cast: Michael Douglas (President Andrew Shepherd), Annette Bening (Sydney Wade), Martin Sheen (A. J.), Michael J. Fox (Lewis), Richard Dreyfuss (Bob Rumson), Anna Deveare Smith (Robin), David Paymer (Kodak), Shawna Waldron (Lucy), Samantha Mathis (Janie); Runtime: 113; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Rob Reiner; Columbia Pictures (Universal); 1995)

A genial and glossy middle-brow rom/com blended together with corny Capra-like political drama.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A genial and glossy middle-brow rom/com blended together with corny Capra-like political drama. It’s modestly helmed by Rob Reiner(“The Magic of Belle Isle”/”LBJ”/”A Few Good Men”) to be likable fodder for public consumption, choosing to eschew anything controversial as an LBJ thing. It’s so sweet as a wish-fulfillment flick about a dreamy pragmatic liberal Clintonesque president, who only Hollywood can present without blushing at its incredible creation. It works for those who can be satisfied with such inoffensive fluff.

The clever screenplay by Aaron Sorkin adds a new twist to the rom/com scenario, by making the WH such a romantic place.

Michael Douglas is the lonely recently widowed Democrat US President, with a young daughter (Shawna Waldron), who falls for the beautiful lobbyist played by Annette Bening. In an election year, this becomes a big deal. The honest President is warned of possible consequences from this tricky romance by his loyal Chief of Staff (Martin Sheen), the pollster (David Paymer) and political aide (Michael J. Fox). It results in the President going down in the polls despite doing nothing wrong.

The pic shoots itself in the foot by not taking risks and being so bland. After-all, the charm of its co-stars can only go so far.


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