Election (1999)

"Extraordinary"

Election (1999) Review


Talk about redemption. After starring in some of favorite movies ever, Matthew Broderick had to go and make Godzilla. Election proves that once again he should stick with comedy, with this little gem easily ranking as one of the top comedies in recent memory, and the best thing to ever come out of MTV's film division. (Then again, Broderick's next pic is Inspector Gadget... dunno what to make of that one.)

The story of a high school student body presidency up for bid sounds simple and even cliched, but director Payne makes quick work of the stereotypical teen comedy, turning the tables on just about everyone in the picture.

As go-getter Tracy Flick, Reese Witherspoon makes for an archetypal "A" student who you just have to hate for her earnestness... but within five minutes we realize Tracy has her own dirty secrets.

The same is true for teacher Mr. McAllister (Broderick), a gentle man loved by the student body... but with an eye for his best friend's wife. And the other candidates, Paul (Klein), an affable oaf of a jock, and Tammy (Campbell), Paul's anarchist sister and a closet lesbian itching to be transferred to the all-girls' school down the street... well, they aren't much better.

By the film's 3/4-way point, Payne has turned everything upside down then right again, then has apparently torn up the script and taken off in a new direction altogether. Set in Omaha, Nebraska, this tale couldn't be more farcical (think Fargo) or more hilarious. I caught myself laughing so hard I cried more than once.

But be advised this is not a "kids movie," it's an R-rated, adult film that has more sex-based content than I'd imagined on entering the cinema. But as it turns out, that's not such a bad thing.

Highly recommended. And note to self: Do not attend your high school reunion this year.

Pick Flick's flick.



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