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The American President (DVD)

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Genre: Romance / Theatrical Release: 1995 / Director: Rob Reiner / Actors: Michael Douglas, Annette Bening ... / DVD released 31 August, 1999 at Warner Home Video / Features of the DVD: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Colour, Dolby, DVD-Video, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC

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    9 Reviews
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      21.07.2009 00:25
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      Boy meets girl with a presidential twist

      If you like gentle romantic comedies then you'll undoubtedly enjoy this classic tale of boy meets girl but boy is President of the United States.

      Michael Douglas stars as Andrew Shepard the widowed president of the United States, with a well adjusted daughter and a high popularity rating. His big plan for re-election is to get a pretty weak, and mostly unsupported by the other politicians, gun control bill through congress. Annette Benning is Sydney Ellen Wade a lobbyist hired to get the necessary support for a CO2 reduction bill. (Considering this was released in 1995 it appears significant political issues haven't changed much!) The President of France is due to visit the United States, but the President's planned date for the event (his cousin - of course) is unwell. After their first meeting the President invites Sydney, via telephone with the expected misundertanding and disbelief, to be his date for the event. The President also makes a deal with Sydney - if she can secure 24 votes for the environmental bill he will get the remaining 10 - he fully expects her to fail and leave him looking good for having tried to pass the bill. And so the scene is set for the film to examine how a public President can have a private romance, the effect it will have on his popularity and how politics can seriously mess up your social life.

      This film has a lot going for it in its writer, director and cast. It is writen by Aaron Sorkin who went on to write West Wing and directed by Rob Reiner. The supporting cast includes Martin Sheen, Michale J Fox, David Paymer and Anna Deavere Smith as the President's staff and Richard Dreyfuss as the bad guy Republican from Kansas.

      There are the two threads running through it - the relationship between Sydney and the President with its difficulties and lack of privacy - and the political story which backs this up and adds to the difficulties in the relationship. Although for those that do not have an in depth grasp of the US political system don't worry this is definitely a rom com with a light sprinkling of politics.

      I wouldn't say I'm a huge fan of either of the leads in this film but I enjoy it for its gentle humour and the attempt to make the President of the United States seem like any man. The supporting actors are good and provide some witty one liners. It is a film which I have watched and rewatched, an excellent Sunday afternoon movie.

      For the sake of completeness this dvd does have limited bonus material consisting of the theatrical trailer (why when you've just watched the movie?), production notes and biographies. It can be found in the bargain basements of many dvd retailers although I think that severely underrates this film.

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        23.03.2005 20:44
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        Aaron Sorkin is a genius in my humble opinion. The West Wing is an excellent hour-long political drama with an equal balance of intellectual political scenarios and quick and witty banter. However, before The West Wing hit our screens, Sorkin dabbled in the politics of the White House in the feature-length movie 'The American President'.

        Michael Douglas stars as President Andrew Shepherd, a widower raising his teenage daughter whilst simulataneously running the country. His Chief of Staff, AJ, is played by Martin Sheen (a slightly confusing role, if you're addicted to The West Wing!) and Michael J. Fox plays his Policy Advisor. Other West Wing-er's to appear are Anna Deavere Smith as his Press Secretary and Joshua Malina.

        The President is finally ready to re-enter the dating ring and Annette Benning shows up as his love interest, Sydney Ellen Wade. The only problem is Wade is a tough Political Activist and is intent on getting her version of an Environmental bill passed, something the White House are trying to avoid.

        Wade and Shepherd soon begin falling for each other and find themselves having to deal with the reactions of the public, the press and the President's own staff.

        'The American President' has all the aspects that make a good film great - romance, a central plot (the race for votes) and a villain - Shepherd's adversary in the film is played excellently by Richard Dreyfuss.

        If you like The West Wing then you'll love this film - although there are certain parts of the film which are very similar to episodes of the show (but since the film came first I guess that's ok!) BUY IT!!!

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          12.06.2004 04:18

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          a nice escape from reality - Advantages: romantic, funny, relaxing - Disadvantages: maybe a bit slow

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          02.05.2002 17:33
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          Some movies are made to put a sincere touch to a relationship between a man and a women, some movies are made to bring out the situations which leads to love, romance and sex, some movies are made to just show that love exists and whatever you do it, you have to fall to this feeling of nature which is one of the giving of God. Now what is American President all about. Is it about a man in power , having out of the way relationship with a lady. Lets see what is it actually all about. It?s been ages, American movies have always been focusing on their President to be the superman and he can do anything. I don?t what makes them do that, but lets leave that to them and focus us on this movie. This movie is all about the clash of the President?s personal and his political life. American President Andrew Shepherd (Micheal Douglas) who is a widower and a father of a girl, find?s himself stuck with a emotional love affair with an environmentalist, Sydney Ellen Wade (Annette Bening). It?s an emotional balance between his personal life and a political election which is just waiting and his opposition, having no stones unturned to spoil his name. The most powerful man on this earth is showing that I am also a normal person and I can fall in love. In the course of the movie, the Andrew gets to know that Sydney is also lobbying for an environmental bill to go to the House. He has made a deal with her, that if she is able to get at least 24 votes, he will send the bill to the floor. But, it seems that something else is boiling, behind this entire bill, is another bill which is the baby of our President, a crime bill. Hence the president has to choose between Sydney and the Country. What choice the President has made, you have to watch the movie and understand it, instead of me revealing it to you. Cast? Of the star, cast no one could have done it better then Michael Douglas, as the shrewd but loving American President. There i
          s no question about his ability as an actor, he is definitely class apart. Most important that he is the perfect choice as the President. Annette Bennig has done good justice to the role and perfect choice as a matured middle aged woman, and a strong environmental activist. But, I feel she acted well in American Beauty. The surprise element of this entire movie was Micheal J Fox, with his amazing lively performance. As usual, Martin Sheen is amazing as the loyal advisor to the President. Overall this movie is a must watch movie and should be in your library of movies. Don?t miss the ?Typical American President?s Speech ?, which is the corner stone in the real life, too.

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            24.08.2000 16:28
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            A film that ought to have come with a small advert saying 'Re-elect Bill Clinton'. This was released in the winter of 1995, just as Bill Clinton was entering his tussle with Bob Dole, and it depicts a lovely cuddly Democrat president, and marvels at his lovely cuddliness. An actor frequently marginalised as a harassed yuppie with an overheating sex drive, Michael Douglas is a remarkably nice Prez, an honourable widower with a so nice teenage daughter and a lot of love to give. Oh, and he also wants to ban guns (obvious subtext - nice people want to ban guns). It's easy to dismiss this film as simply being Clinton's mates ganging up to get him back into the White House (and Douglas, Annette Bening and Rob Reiner are precisely the kind of liberal Hollywood types who keep Democrat coffers swollen), but on its own terms it's a very smart and well-written romantic comedy, with Douglas attempting to woo Bening the spiky environmentalist while trying to be the leader of the free world. Excellent support (David Paymer, Michael J. Fox, a nice cameo from Richard Dreyfuss) and good lines make it an eminently civilised entertainment, even if Mr Bill turned out to be a hillbilly dog on heat.

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            17.08.2000 03:52
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            The American President is a cheery tale of the President of the United States, a widower played by Michael Douglas, falling in love in front of the whole world, and his young daughter. Annette Benning plays his love interest, a journalist. It is unfortunate that this view of a President wooing a woman in a steady romantic manner was released during Bill Clintons 'reign'. The movie tries to re-install the American publics' love for the office of Presidency. The plot covers their meeting and centres on their attempts to keep the relationship under wraps whilst trying to discover whether they have a future. The usual running around, hiding in the back seat, oh my goodness is that the President in the street cliches can be found here. Micheal Douglas plays the President as a quiet, caring family man - no typecasting in this movie! Oh except for Michael J Fox playing the same part he does in Spin City. Overall it is an enjoyable Saturday night date film, perfect for getting sloppy in front of the TV. Interestingly the bits of the script that didn't quite make it into the cinema mutated into The West Wing on TV.

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              27.07.2000 02:09
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              I went to see this film at the cinema when it first came out and loved it. When it came out on video we hired it and then we bought it. All I knew about Annette Benning before this was she was married to warren Beatty and Michael Douglas was most famous to me for Fatal Attraction. This is a very different role for them both and I would go so far as to call it a classic romance. This is one I could watch again and again.

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              24.07.2000 00:56

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              This is in the drama category, but I would definitely class 'The American President' as a romantic comedy. It stars Michael Douglas as the president of the USA, who falls in love with a journalist, played by Annette Bening. We follow their blossoming relationship through it's ups and downs, and see how they cope with his position as the president, plus the fact that he is a widower with a teenage daughter. All in all it's a nice relaxing film, with a good supporting cast including Martin Sheen and Michael J Fox. I'd definitely recmmend it, and have bought it on video after seeing it on TV, because I liked it so much.

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              23.07.2000 19:15
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              This is a clever romantic comedy based on the “American President tries to act like the boy next door” scenario. It’s quite a good story, although totally predictable, and if you like Micheal Douglas then you will probably enjoy this film. It’s well acted and both Annette Benning and Douglas command your sympathy for their plight. However, it’s very slow and middle-of-the-road. It’s suitable for all and should probably only be watched on a rainy Sunday afternoon when you really don’t have anything better to do.

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            What sounds like a high-concept romantic comedy pitch from hell--widower president falls for smart lobbyist while the world watches--is actually intelligent, charming, touching and quite funny. Granted, it's wish fulfilment all the way (when was the last time you saw a president who was truly presidential?) but in the capable hands of writer Aaron Sorkin (TV's Sports Night) and director Rob Reiner, TheAmerican President is incredibly enjoyable entertainment with quite a few ideas about both romance and the government. Michael Douglas stars as the president, who after three years in office starts thinking about the possibility of dating. When he auspiciously encounters cutthroat environmental lobbyist Sydney Ellen Wade (Annette Bening), sparks begin to crackle and the two begin a tentative but heartfelt romance. Of course, his job gets in the way--their first kiss is interrupted by a Libyan bombing--but darn it if these two kids aren't going to try and make it work! However, they hadn't counted on the president's Republican antagonist (Richard Dreyfuss), who starts carping about family values. The predictable plot--Douglas finally goes to bat for his lady and his country--is leavened by Sorkin's wonderful, snappy dialogue and a light touch from the usually subtle-as-a-sledgehammer Reiner. Both manage to create a believable White House-office atmosphere (with a crack staff including Martin Sheen, Michael J. Fox, Anna Deavere Smith and Samantha Mathis) as well as a plausible and funny dating scenario. The true success of the movie, though, rides squarely on Douglas and Bening; this is unequivocally Douglas's best comedic performance (ergo his best performance, period) and Bening, usually such a good bad girl, takes a standard career-woman role and fleshes it out magnificently. You can see in an instant why Douglas would fall for her. One of the best unsung romantic comedies of the 90s. --Mark Englehart