A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that teens will likely be interested in this movie thanks to relentless promotion and its connection to Daily Show host Jon Stewart. Unfortunately, it just isn't that funny -- it could have been an amusing political commentary, but it missed the mark. Also, there are crude jokes galore (remember, it stars Robin Williams) about diapers, farts, "inhaling," pictures of naked women, and sex ("I did not have sex with that woman ... I wanted to, but I didn't").
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In MAN OF THE YEAR, Robin Williams stars as Tom Dobbs, a TV host a la The Daily Show's Jon Stewart who jokes about running for president. One day during the warm up before his show, an audience member challenges Dobbs to actually run -- next thing you know, he's a major candidate and then, unbelievably, president. Turns out that a computer glitch in the voting process results in Dobbs' win. An evil software company has sold the United States on a national voting system -- but just weeks before the election, computer analyst Eleanor Green (Laura Linney) discovers an anomaly that company legal counsel Alan Stewart (Jeff-Goldblum) will do just about anything to keep secret.
Is it any good?
Man of the Year seems confused: It starts out as a comedy, but somewhere along the way, it turns into a conspiracy thriller. Unfortunately, it really can't decide what it wants to be -- All the President's Men, Wag the Dog, or Bulworth. If Williams had been given the chance to do any real comedy, this could have been a really funny movie, but the plot spirals into a sub-par thriller. And a subplot involving a romance between Dobbs and Green doesn't work at all.
If the filmmakers were going to take the thriller route, why not throw a few issues into the mix -- war, terrorists, something! As it is, this is a milquetoast movie that doesn't play on any of its actors' strengths, including Linney, the formidable Christopher Walken, who plays Dobbs' chain-smoking manager, and irascible Daily Show regular Lewis Black, who plays his curmudgeonly head-writer.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether a comedian could really run for president and win. If so, who would be a good candidate? What makes someone qualified to be president? Is it OK to have a president who isn't exactly a model of morality? What specific people and issues is the movie spoofing? What issues should be brought up in a presidential candidacy? Where does your family stand on topical issues like abortion, hydrogen fuel, war, and legal marijuana?
- In theaters: October 12, 2006
- On DVD or streaming: February 20, 2007
- Cast: Christopher Walken, Laura Linney, Robin Williams
- Director: Barry Levinson
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 115 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: language, including some crude sexual references, drug related material, and brief violence.
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