The American President

  • Film
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Part romantic comedy, part Capra-corny political drama, this movie exudes so much sympathy, it sweats. Douglas's eminently decent, recently widowed Democratic President, 'Andy' Shepherd, is so squeaky-clean, his faults seem like the blemishes that make the perfect face. Why, the film asks, shouldn't the leader of the free world be free to form relationships like any Joe Doe? Because it's an election year, say his aides (reliable Chief of Staff Sheen, policy adviser and conscience-figure Fox, realist in-house pollster Paymer), and what's more, right-wing Presidential hopeful Dreyfuss will use any alliance to kebab his cojones. Aaron Sorkin's script goes light on the duplicity and corruption of office. This President's worst dilemma is being caught between mutually exclusive noble options (gun restriction law or green legislation) and the pressure of time. Bening's Sydney Wade, the environmental lobbyist Shepherd sets out to woo, is straight out of the Jean Arthur school of klutzy charm, without a diploma. An animated Hello! magazine spread: mildly diverting.

Release details

Duration: 113 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Rob Reiner
Screenwriter: Aaron Sorkin
Cast: Michael Douglas
Annette Bening
Michael J Fox
Martin Sheen
Richard Dreyfuss
David Paymer
Anna Deavere Smith
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