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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Although the story is based on a massive deception, ultimately compassion and integrity are major themes. Encourages the idea that helping others is important in everyday life and in government.
Positive Role Models
Dave is a compassionate, well-intentioned everyman who demonstrates a strong sense of integrity and civic mindedness. He's not always perfect (he participates in the cover up, and he also threatens to blackmail another character), but especially compared to the obviously corrupt Bob and President Mitchell, Dave comes across as a kind, intelligent leader. Ellen is an example of a smart, charitable, and strong-willed female character. Overall there are some grey areas, because characters are willing to deceive and plot, but many do so to help people and improve others' lives.
Violence & Scariness
A man has a stroke and is rushed to the hospital. Several references to wanting to kill someone.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
President Mitchell has an extramarital affair; they're shown having sex, although there's no sensitive nudity. Dave's naked backside is shown while he's in the shower. He turns around to talk to Ellen, and she eyes him, but nothing is shown. A couple shares a passionate kiss.
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Some swearing, including one "f--k," a few uses of "s--t," plus "bulls--t," "dammit," "hell," "oh my God," and "Jesus" (as exclamations).
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Products & Purchases
Plug for Chevy Geo Storm.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult characters drink wine, beer, and cocktails at meals and parties, but never to excess.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dave is a charming political comedy about a regular guy (Kevin Kline) who ends up impersonating the president of the United States when the latter experiences an unexpected (and scandalous) health crisis. Dave isn't perfect -- he willingly participates in the deception at the heart of the movie and does a few other iffy things along the way -- but his big heart shines through, and he ends up improving the lives of his fellow Americans while he's "in office." Some of the movie's political satire and power struggles might go over younger kids' head, especially since politics have changed somewhat since the film was made. But it has strong themes of compassion and integrity, as well as some big laughs and a sweet romance between the jaded first lady (Sigourney Weaver) and the idealistic Dave. Expect some swearing throughout (including "s--t" and one use of "f--k") and some partial nudity. Dave's naked chest and backside are shown in the shower, and a couple has sex under the covers, but nothing sensitive is shown. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This uplifting movie plays to the fantasy of the Everyman or Everywoman who thinks they could make a real difference in this country, if only they had the chance. It's a truly heartfelt film that manages to combine sweet romance with political satire. Older viewers will appreciate the subtle jabs at notable political figures, but you don't need to be familiar with '90s politics to enjoy the wit and warmth here. If you're looking for a funny, romantic take on politics, Dave is definitely worth a watch.
That said, Kline plays Dave with such simplicity that he brings to mind Wilbur Post from TV's Mr. Ed. And when Ben Kingsley, who plays Vice President Nance, shows up toward the end of the film, he adds a depth and presence that almost make him (or everyone else) appear to be in the wrong movie. And the politics represented in the movie can seem oversimplified. Everything works out very tidily, which leaves threads and nuances missing from the storyline. But, then again, that's sort of the point. The situation Dave gets himself into might not be realistic, but the idea of a political outsider shaking up Washington still resonates with today's viewers. Dave's whole message when he revises the budget is that some basic decency and common sense could go a long way in government.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.