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Director: Alexander Payne
Writer: Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor
Producers: A. Berger, D. Gale, K. Samples, R. Yerxa
Reese Witherspoon
Matthew Broderick
Chris Klein
Overly ambitious student Tracey Flick is running for the student body presidency and will not let anybody stand in her way. Not her twelve-year veteran teacher Mr. M, not the most popular boy in high school who is also running for the political prize, nor his lesbian sister, the other nominee on the ballot.
Clever, somewhat predictable, stylish film features Reese Witherspoon’s greatest performance to date as the most annoying overachiever that you’d ever NOT want to meet. Now despite generally enjoying this film, I could not help but compare it to (what seems like its male counterpart) the superior 1998 film, RUSHMORE (9/10), which featured a stronger performance by its co-star, Bill Murray, a more entertaining script, and many funnier moments. But since any direct comparison is inherently unfair, I would say that this film does succeed in its root of black comedy, with no huge laughs, an interesting plot, and several great performances, with Witherspoon’s showing topping them all.

By its very nature, this scathing satire contains various contemptible characters who essentially think of no one but themselves, and create that sort of “Seinfeld” mentality in which the person making the least immoral mistakes will win, if only by default. The one character that did feature some conscientious behavior, the football playing popular-boy, struck me as too big of a moron to appreciate as a true character, but maybe that’s just me. Too goofy, for my taste. One other thing to note is that this film is definitely a comedy for adults, not for kids! Some teenagers may appreciate it, but overall, me thinks this feature is geared towards the more cynical segment of our modern day adult population. All in all, a superb performance by Reese Witherspoon, a clever script, some funny moments, but ultimately too similar to RUSHMORE to appreciate as an original story (for me, that is).

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian




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