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55 of 59 found the following review helpful:
The Best Comedy of the Year Mar 10, 2000
By Bob Thompson
This is by far the funniest movie Hollywood has produced in years, probably the best in my opinion since "Get Shorty."
Reese Witherspoon plays Tracy Flick, an over-ambitous student with desires to be elcted to her student council. Tracy Flick is the kind of person I think we've all met before. Driven, ambitious, very bright, but at the same time she really has no discernable personality. The fact that she is driven and involved in everything is what's getting her by. She has very few friends and is, if anything, made fun of routinely.
Matthew Broderick plays her teacher. He's a very regular man, teaching a dull course, leading a fairly boring and repetetive life. When he finds tracy's ambitions threatning he sets out on destroying her.
Election is far more hilarious than most movies because of its extremely bitter nature. Many people will find the story cold and sterile but if you get past that it is a hugely entertaining film.
All the performances are first rate and if you compare it to the other "teen" comedy of the year, "American Pie" it is evident that this is light years ahead. While "American Pie" settles on cheap belly laughs and a feel good ending, "Election" opts for exactly the opposite. In fact this is really a very adult film performed by teenagers.
"Election" is a cynical, bitter, vicious movie that is also the best comedy in years.
25 of 26 found the following review helpful:
Brilliant. Jan 28, 2000
By Eric Meyer
"Election" is one of the most intelligently-written, original and well-acted films to come out in years. The storytelling is never predictable or conventional, yet everything that happens feels honest and correct. The characters are far more fully-developed than those in any recent Hollywood film I can think of. In the beginning, you expect Broderick to be the hero and Witherspoon to be the villain, but the former does some despicable things, and the latter proves to be somewhat sympathetic. Although "Election" is a comedy (and a very funny one at that), it makes more valid and honest observations about human nature than most "serious" films.
29 of 32 found the following review helpful:
A subtle classic of American cinema Dec 11, 1999
By David Baldwin
Election was not popular in America, and it's mainly because it viciously attacks everything the USA holds dear. This is exectly why this is such a brilliant black comedy, but if you're the type of person who prefers 'comedies' like American Pie then this is definitely not for you. It ridicules everything - the sexual pysche of the wounded male ego, high school hierarchy systems, the teacher-pupil relationship - whilst at the same time satirising American politics. Payne's commentary on the DVD is informative, but it would have been nice to have a feature on the making of it of or an analysis of the intentions of the script from people involved. Hell, a trailer would have been good, but buy the DVD for the film, a classic of American cinema which doesn't need to be in your face to make its point. Well worth your money.
27 of 31 found the following review helpful:
"Who cares about this STUPID election?" Dec 28, 2002
By Wheelchair Assassin
At the start of "Election," Jim McAllister tells viewers how well his life is going. He's a dedicated and popular social studies teacher at Carver High School in Omaha, with a loving wife and a best friend on the faculty. By the film's end, Jim has been fired from his job, become a national laughingstock, been divorced by his wife for infidelity, and moved to New York City. Why? It all starts with Tracy Flick.
Tracy, played in career-defining fashion by Reese Witherspoon, is a running for student-government president at Carver. She's an odd mix of youthful naivete; barely suppressed resentment at slights both real and imagined; and a pure Machiavellian drive to succeed. She's also having an affair with Jim's math-teacher best friend Dave, whose extracurricular activities get him fired early in the movie.
Concerned about the effects of Tracy's reckless ambition and bitter over his friend Dave's firing, Jim develops an unhealthy obsession with her (the scene where Tracy appears in Jim's head while he's being intimate with his wife is one of the most consistently funny in movie history). Determined to halt Tracy's rise, Jim decides to recruit popular ex-jock Paul Metzler to oppose her in the election. Paul, brilliantly portrayed by Chris Klein, is everything Tracy isn't: innocent, wide-eyed, naive, and slow-witted, with a penchant for vacant stares and extremely stupid comments. Paul's lesbian sister Tammy also decides to enter the race, bitter over her brother's theft of a girl's affections.
What follows is one of the most brilliantly satirical movies I've had the pleasure of seeing. Although the central event of "Election" may be a high-school election, it might as well be a presidential race. Carver High becomes a microcosm for the world in general, with the election as the backdrop for a sordid tale of lust, betrayal, power, ambition, and resentment. Jim (is there any doubt that this is Matthew Broderick's best role?) may sound idealistic at the start of the movie, but by the end he's gotten dirtier than anyone else. In fact, out of the principal characters in the movie only Paul really comes out clean.
"Election" is, without a doubt, one of the most well-crafted comedies of recent years. Much like "The Simpsons" in its prime, the movie is brilliant in its vulgarity and unpredictability. The main characters are fully realized and realistic, and the actors (Klein especially) can wring laughs out of even the tiniest facial expression. The humor is often off-color, but never in a stupid teen-movie sort of way. "Election" is a reminder of how funny a movie can be when it relies on little things like wit and creativity. I try to be pretty careful with my five-star ratings, but "Election" would get a hundred out of a hundred from me.
11 of 11 found the following review helpful:
A new classic... May 31, 2000
By E. M. Carey
Election is truly one of the most clever and probably the funniest movie to come along in the past couple of years. I've watched it several times, and each time I'm drawn back in, amused, dismayed and, most importantly, laughing out loud at the plot, the details and the whole package.
Reese Witherspoon is a revelation as Tracey Flick, the perfect student running unopposed for student council president. What could have been such a one-dimensional character is given a great deal of depth through her performance. And it is nice to see Matthew Broderick playing a grown-up, albeit a disturbingly immature one. The supporting players are just as amazingly cast, and act their roles superbly. The details, too, of the Nebraska setting, from the meal Broderick shares with his wife, to the trips to the mall, to the basement band... this is one well-crafted movie.
I highly recommend this movie. I've passed this movie amongst friends and family quite liberally and everyone has enjoyed it enthusiastically. Of course, we all love satire, and this is one of the best to come along in a looooong time.
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