Movie review by
Maria Llull, Common Sense Media
Dave Movie Poster Image
Uplifting political comedy combines romance and satire.
  • PG-13
  • 1993
  • 110 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 8 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.


A man has a stroke and is rushed to the hospital. Several references to wanting to kill someone.


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.


Some swearing, including one "f--k," a few uses of "s--t," plus "bulls--t," "dammit," "hell," "oh my God," and "Jesus" (as exclamations).


Plug for Chevy Geo Storm.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adult characters drink wine, beer, and cocktails at meals and parties, but never to excess.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byChris_Feher May 13, 2020

An Intriguing Idea

Dave is a very good movie that explores a hypothetical way to deal with a president who is unfit to serve. The film is funny, entertaining, and satisfying at th... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byLoranikas303 March 11, 2021
Teen, 15 years old Written byDogcat March 11, 2021

Oh no!

Maybe Holly R. Watched the movie and her daughter screams because she thinks it’s Dave from the tv show Ruff-Ruff, Tweet, and amp; Dave! (Dave scares her out)!... Continue reading

What's the story?

In DAVE, Kevin Kline stars in dual roles as President Bill Mitchell and a temp agency owner named Dave Kovic. When the president has a massive stroke that leaves him in a vegetative state, his chief of staff, Bob Alexander (Frank Langella), convinces Dave to play the part. Whereas President Mitchell was corrupt and nasty, with a well-crafted political facade, Dave genuinely cares and wants to help people. This leads him to lock horns with Alexander, whose real agenda is to implicate the vice president in a scandal and have "President Dave" nominate Alexander as the new VP just before pretending to have a second, fatal stroke. Ellen Mitchell (Sigourney Weaver) is the estranged first lady who enjoys using her role to be of service to the needy, despite the lack of love in her marriage. She eventually catches on to the scheme, and, with her help, Dave is able to set things right (and the two of them even find romance along the way).

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what they'd do in Dave's situation. What would you do differently than the current president, and what would you do the same? 

  • Who's your favorite president in history? Why? What do you think makes a strong leader?

  • Is Dave a role model? How do Dave and Ellen demonstrate compassion and integrity? Why are these important character strengths?

  • With elections and political news more visible than ever, what role do political scandals have in the election process? What are some of the ways that people hold their representatives accountable?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love politics

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

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