Review: ‘Dave’

Dave, the story of a run-of-the mill guy asked to stand-in for a major leader who suddenly falls ill, is a delightful, buoyant new take on an old theme, deftly mixing political cynicism with elements of Mr Smith Goes to Washington.

Dave, the story of a run-of-the mill guy asked to stand-in for a major leader who suddenly falls ill, is a delightful, buoyant new take on an old theme, deftly mixing political cynicism with elements of Mr Smith Goes to Washington.

In this case, the office is President of the United States, and Dave (Kevin Kline), a sometime presidential-impersonator, gets drafted by White House chief of staff Bob Alexander (Frank Langella) and his communications director (Kevin Dunn), who want to keep Dave in office long enough to engineer a sort-of coup in which Alexander can take over.

Just to be safe, they dispatch the Vice President (Ben Kingsley, in a small but effective cameo) on a fool’s errand to Africa. Dave also thaws the icy relationship between the President and First Lady (Sigourney Weaver), providing a nifty romantic element.

Kline stands forth as the glue that holds it all together, but he benefits from strong supporting performances all around such as Ving Rhames’ stony Secret Service agent, who pulls off the film’s most affecting moment.

1993: Nomination: Best Original Screenplay

Dave

Production

Warner/Northern Lights. Director Ivan Reitman; Producer Lauren Shuler-Donner, Ivan Reitman; Screenplay Gary Ross; Camera Adam Greenberg; Editor Sheldon Kahn; Music James Newton Howard; Art Director J. Michael Riva

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1993. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

Kevin Kline Sigourney Weaver Frank Langella Kevin Dunn Ving Rhames Ben Kingsley
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