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DAVE (1993) - PG13

When President Bill Mitchell decides he needs to be in two places at once, he hires Dave Kovic-a deadringer look alike- to stand-in for him while he escapes to have a fling with one of his aides. Unfortunately, in the midst of his sexual liaison, President Mitchell suffers a stroke, leaving Dave in the sticky situation of indefinitely impostering the President of the United States under the advice of Chief of Staff, Bob Alexander. But the nefarious Alexander, has an ulterior motive involving a plot to usurp "Dave" and ascertain the presidency for himself, putting the loveable Dave in one compromising situation after the next in this endearing political comedy.

Director Ivan Reitman, with "Dave," delivers a fun, heart warming, life- affirming comedy.

The cast includes: Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Frank Langella, Ben Kingsley, Kevin Dunn, Ving Rhames, Charles Grodin, Faith Prince, Laura Linney, Bonnie Hunt, Parley Baer, Stefan Gierasch, and Anna Deavere Smith.

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"This the ultimate 'What if?' scenario."
Quote from Dave: "I once caught a fish thiiiiiiiis biiiiiiiiig"

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"Dave" tells the adventures of the positive, upbeat Dave Kovic (Kevin Kline) who not only runs a temporary employment agency, but makes extra money impersonating the current President Bill Mitchell (Kevin Kline) as he has an amazing resemblance to this U.S. President. When the president has a crippling, incapacitating stroke, while making love to a secretary, the look-a-like is secretly put into the president's place, because of political ambitions of Bill Mitchell's Chief of Staff Bob Alexander (Frank Langella). To complicate things for Dave, is the fact that the real president is a womanizing, slimy politician, and his wife hates his guts. Will she notice the difference in Dave's character, and put two and two together?

This entertaining, funny screenplay was written by the talented Gary Ross, who also wrote such enjoyable films as "Big," "Lassie," and "Pleasantville." The philosophical bent of the screenplay is written in a liberal way of thinking, and some say that it is a bit one-sided in its message, though it never identifies a political party to any of the characters. It does define two types of politicians; those who strive to serve the people, and those who strive to serve themselves and gain power, even at the expense of those who voted them into office.

The talented director, Ivan Reitman, does a fabulous job keeping the pacing tight, and the laughs coming, as he knows how to direct actors in a comedy, to bring out the spirit of the script. Reitman also directed such films as "Ghostbusters," "Ghostbusters 2," "Kindergarten Cop," and "Evolution."

Kevin Kline is a delight as the presidential look-a-like. He brings much charm to the role, one of his most audience pleasing characterizations in years. When Dave Kovic comes back to his apartment one late afternoon, he finds two Secret Service Agents sitting in his living room. They hire him to impersonate President Mitchell, to be a decoy who is to walk down the hallway, wave to the crowds and go into a waiting car. Halfway back to his apartment, the car turns around and returns to the White House, where an extremely illegal proposition is strongly suggested by both Bob Alexander and Alan Reed (Kevin Dunn I), when they want to keep President Mitchell's debilitating stroke which happened with a mistress.

Charles Grodin has fun as an accountant buddy, of Kline's, Murray Blum. When Kline attempts to balance the budget, he calls in Grodin to help out. Grodin makes the most of a key supporting role, playing a character that discovers the truth in several situations that really disturb him, and Grodin has great comical looks as he truth dawns on him. Dave has the habit of talking Blum into doing things he really doesn't want to do, because he is a great friend. After helping Dave with the budget, he vehemently warns Dave to "get out as soon as you can!"

Sigourney Weaver, as the president's estranged wife, Ellen Mitchell, who is well aware of her husband's infidelities, give a solid, classy performance. Her character goes through quite an arc in the course of the film, as she comes to fall in love with this man who is NOT her husband. As Dave's behavior and demeanor doesn't match what Bill Mitchell's would be, she suspects that Dave is not her husband, and she tricks him into telling her the truth.

Kline and Weaver sparkle together. My favorite sequence of scenes with these two begins when Weaver finds out the truth about Dave, and he takes her down to the basement to see her incapacitated husband. Afterwards,Kline and Weaver sneak out of the White House for a moonlight get together. They get stopped for a traffic violation, and Dave launches into his act of imitating President Mitchell, singing the song "Tomorrow." Ellen, who can't sing very well, joins in for the finale. Having convinced the cops that they are merely look-a-likes, they go and have a moonlight picnic. This scene has warmth, without being overly romantic.

Ben Kingsley shines as the put-upon Vice President Nance. Kingsley conveys quiet dignity, on the screen, as well as any actor alive.

Ving Rhames is convincing as the stoic secret service agent who is assigned to protect Dave.

Frank Langella plays a great bad guy, Bill Mitchell's Chief of Staff Bob Alexander, who schemes to become the next president, in any manner possible. My favorite scene with Langella opens with a White house tour group going through the White House. Suddenly Frank Langella character, Bob Alexander,who is absolutely furious, storms by the group, seething with anger, because Dave took him at his word, and found a way to save the homeless shelters. This means more trouble for Dave. When Dave, dismisses Alexander as his chief of Staff, the fireworks begin as Alexander makes it public the financial illegal shenanigans of the real President Mitchell.

The last 25 minutes is most entertaining as Dave finds a clever way, with the help of his friends to creatively back out of his presidential gig, and let the real comatose president take his place, with the Vice-President taking the reins of responsibility.

If you liked DAVE you may enjoy MOON OVER PARADOR, THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT, THE CANDIDATE, MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, MY FELLOW AMERICANS, WORKING GIRL, and/or TOOTSIE.

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