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Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States, Robin Williams

Far fetched? Maybe, maybe not. Considering we live in a country where a former pink-feather-boa-wearing professional wrestler and an Austrian-born former bodybuilder-turned-actor can become Governors, the possibility of the citizens of this nation electing a comedian to the presidency seems entirely plausible. I mean one could argue that our current president is a joke anyway (oh, I’m so controversial). However far-fetched (or not), this is the premise for Universal Pictures’ upcoming, “Man of the Year”.

The film stars Robin Williams as acerbic (I had to look it up too) performer Tom Dobbs who has made his career out of skewering politicians and speaking the mind of the exasperated nation on his talk show. He’s like a Jon Stewart meets Bill Maher meets Chris Rock meets Dennis Miller (when he was still funny). Anyway, after cracking scathing jokes at a fractured system night after night, he decides to run for president himself.

He ignites a grassroots movement that puts him on the ballot; and after campaigning and debating, the muckraker wins only to learn that a computer voting error gave him the victory. With time ticking on the inaugural clock, Dobbs has a big decision to make: should he go back behind the mike or stay in the Oval Office?

So are you intrigued? Yea, I don’t know either. I mean part of me really wants this movie to be funny. You know a scathing but humorously relevant look at the state of politics today. But the practical half of my brain (actually it’s more like 1/37 of my brain) feels like the film is going to bomb, er, not deliver on promises, er, just not do well. Let’s pre-review using the “point/counterpoint” method:

Point: The film is directed by Barry Levinson; the man behind “Diner”, “The Natural”, “Good Morning, Vietnam”, “Rain Man” and “Wag the Dog”.

Counterpoint: The film is directed by Barry Levinson; the man behind “Toys”, “Jimmy Hollywood”, “Sphere” and “Envy”.

Point: The film could follow in the footsteps of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, “Dave” (shut up, I liked it) and “The American President”.

Counterpoint: the film could follow in the footsteps of “Head of State” or “Bulworth” (I didn’t like it but damn it if “Ghetto Superstar” isn’t still catchy as hell)

Point: The film co-stars Christopher Walken

Counterpoint: No argument

Point: there’s potential for Robin Williams to be his A.D.D., caffeine overdosed, ad-libbing genius self like he was as radio DJ Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning, Vietnam.

Counterpoint: Robin Williams is making “Mrs. Doubtfire 2”

Point: I feel as though most fans of the talk show hosts/comedians I mentioned above have at one time or another said to themselves that if they (the hosts) ran for office, you would vote for them. I know I have. I mean just imagine the cabinet you could put together. (WARNING, TANGENT ALERT)

President: Stephen Colbert- if you haven’t seen the video of his speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner, you need to find it immediately. But finish my article first

Vice President: Jon Stewart- you ever seen the back of twenty dollar bill…on weed?

Secretary of State: Bill Maher- can’t you just picture him chatting it up with foreign heads of state?

Secretary of Defense: Dennis Miller- probably the right-most leaning pick of the group he could dazzle potential enemies with his stream-of-consciousness "rants" featuring obscure references to pop culture and literature

Attorney General: Lewis Black- I’m giggling just thinking about that

Press Secretary: Chris Rock- man, would I ever tune into every press conference

Counterpoint: if my assertion about peoples' willingness to vote for a comedian is correct then there’s a huge potential for the film to beat that point to a pulp. A bloody, bloody, non-funny pulp.

So that’s it. With two more years left in the Bush presidency and the mid-term elections approaching quickly, “Man of the Year” could capitalize (and benefit) from the current political climate of the country. Not to mention that with a great number of Americans getting their ‘news’ from “The Daily Show”, “The Colbert Report” and “Real Time with Bill Maher” the film has a seemingly built in audience. Will it fall into the category of “Trailer Trash”? We’ll have to wait until the polls close (awful) on October 16th. After all, it’s not up to me. I’m not “the decider”.


Josh “mediaboy” Gryvatz

Posted by on September 25, 2006 11:45 AM
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