Dave (1993)

Rating 12

Length 1Hr 50

Release 5.11.1993

Director Ivan Reitman

About Shifty White House chief of staff Bob Alexander (Frank Langella) hatches a scheme to use a double for the president (Kevin Kline) at a public photo opportunity. Small business owner Dave Kovic (Kline) fits the bill, but after the president suffers a debilitating stroke, opportunist Alexander arranges for Dave to step in full time without even informing the First Lady (Sigourney Weaver). It doesn’t take long before the press, the nation and the president’s wife realize something is different.

The Good

  • What a cast. Frank Langella, Ben Kingsley and Ving Rhames all play supporting roles, but its Kevin Dunn’s appearance that caught me off guard. It’s not like he’s been off our screens in the last few years, but I did forget about his presence in the 90s. Here he plays an almost moral compass that’s lost its way.
  • I love the relationship between Kevin Kline’s Dave and Ving Rhames’ Duane. Watching Dave melt the frosty persona is a delight and much more charming than the relationship of Dave and the First Lady.
  • It is a romantic comedy, but I like that the comedy is fluffy and not too over the top. It’s harmless and doesn’t derive it’s humour from taking shots at other people.
  • I do like the idea of looking at the presidency through the eyes of someone who has no political ambition.

The Bad

  • The politics is a little soft and doesn’t provide anything other than a backdrop and landscape for the story to unfold. It’s a riff on Prince and the Pauper or Man in the Iron Mask, but it does little else.
  • I do feel as if we didn’t spend enough time with Kline as Bill Mitchell. Yes, we see enough to know he’s someone who cheats and we are given additional information throughout the film from other people, but I really would have liked one more scene.

The Ugly

  • There’s a few time when the film using the method of speeding the film up to give us humour. It’s seen in many other films, including Romeo + Juliet and it’s just something I truly dislike. It calls attention to it and pulls me out of the story.
  • While I love Kevin Kline on the most part, there’s always something he does that has me cringing in my seat. Perhaps a sign of a good actor that he can throw himself all in, however I don’t like to cringe and this is perhaps, outside of Wild Wild West, the worst for it. I didn’t need the rendition of The Sun Will Come Out and I didn’t need that whole story.

Final Thoughts

It’s a bit too fluffy to be a go to film, but it does have a charm about it.

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