An uncanny lookalike is hired to stand-in for the President of
the United States, but a sudden illness makes the job indefinite.
Directed by Ivan Reitman
Written by Gary Ross
Starring Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Frank Langella,
Kevin Dunn, Ving Rhames, Ben Kingsley, Charles Grodin
Oscar Nominations - Best Original Screenplay
The 90s was the definitive decade of the political comedy. You had films like My Fellow Americans, The American President, Black Sheep, and of course, Dave poking fun at the election process, governance, and the selfishness of modern politicians. There's always a moment where our hero renounces the way things are done in hopes of replacing it with something better. Something with a bit more humanity. I'm sure a lot of that has to do with the optimism of the Clinton administration, but I wouldn't know. I grew up during the Bush administration, was a teenager in the Obama administration, and (like millions of others) was diagnosed with the Trump administration. But I digress. Dave plays with the bullshit of partisan politics and delivers a heartfelt film about an ordinary guy who becomes the most powerful man in the world and decides to do something with it.
President Bill Mitchell (Kline) is a bit of a shit. He's selfish, soulless, hates the homeless, and cheats on his wife constantly. One day, he has a stroke while banging an intern and winds up brain dead. This forces the chief of staff (Langella, who always plays a great prick) to find a double so the boat doesn't get rocked until the time is right. He finds Dave Kovic (also Kline), a dead ringer who agrees to stand-in indefinitely for the president. Now, an everyman has the power of the presidency, and he uses it to help people on a scale that Mitchell never bothered. Of course, the First Lady, Ellen, (Weaver) catches on quickly, but starts falling in love with Dave, who's the spitting image of her husband but is a much kinder, decent human being. It's a very sweet film that reeks of a sort of hope you could only find in the 90s.
Dave is a delightful watch thanks mostly to Kevin Kline's fantastic dual performance and his chemistry with Sigourney Weaver. A great screenplay and impressive direction from Ivan Reitman helps round this film out to be one of the more memorable political comedies of the 90s. Plus, it's pretty damn funny.