With a title that gives little hint to its plot, Dave is all about Kevin Kline, who plays both President Bill Mitchell and Dave Kovic. Kline is the magic charm that makes the whole film work, portraying both a jerk and a lovable guy who’s in over his head and barely knows it. His eccentricities, such as the way he embellishes the lines and orders given him (or sometimes doesn’t, to comedic effect) are priceless. Yet, his sympathetic idealism is like something out of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and one can’t help but root for his plans, even if he is lying to the whole country throughout the film (due to Bob Alexander, played by the icy Frank Langella).
While his beneficent proposals are pretty unrealistic (putting every single person to work is not really in the government’s power; see the New Deal), it’s nice to see a film point out the flaws in the system in a fairly nonpartisan way. Comments about the unwieldiness of the budget, the unnecessary programs that gobble up millions, and the selfishness of many politicians make Dave a film to be taken seriously, and many cameos by actual congressmen, senators, and news reporters give it a sense of realism.
Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Mitchell, Ving Rhames as Secret Service man Duane, Charles Grodin as Dave’s accountant friend (having played one in Midnight Run, Grodin must like playing accountants) and Ben Kingsley as Vice President Nance round out the well-cast roles, and I must say that Kline and Weaver have some winning chemistry. (As a side note, when Dave operates two giant robotic arms, I couldn’t help but think that it’s too bad Sigourney Weaver didn’t get ahold of those and fight a giant alien.) As a comedy, the film is amusing throughout but doesn’t have any standout hilarious scene, like other Ivan Reitman films (Ghostbusters, Stripes). Dave nonetheless is an entertaining Prince-and-the-Pauper look at a fictional Washington conspiracy that thankfully hasn’t really happened. I think.
Best line: (Duane, as Dave and he part ways) “I would have taken a bullet for you.”Artistry: 6 Characters/Actors: 8 Entertainment: 8 Visual Effects: N/A (except for one scene with the two Kevin Klines) Originality: 6 Watchability: 8 Other (language): -3 TOTAL: 33 out of 60
Next: #275 – The Emperor’s New Groove
© 2014 S. G. Liput