It would seem as though there is widespread disillusionment with government these days. So it is probably timely that Barry Levinson’s Man of the Year has come to our cinema screens.
Tom Dobbs (Robin Williams) is the host of a comedy talk show. During one of his shows, a girl in the audience jokingly suggests that Tom should run for president. As a bit of a joke, Dobbs announces that he will do just that. Unexpectedly, the public applaud his announcement and support him - so he decides to really run. He is successful at winning the race and basks in his success until Eleanor (Laura Linney), an employee of the computer company that provided the new automated voting system for the election, breaks some disturbing news. She finds herself on the run as Dobbs grapples with what he should do.
Man of the Year is not an all out belly laugh as one might expect. Robin Williams is true to form and, because he plays a comedian, has plenty of opportunity to display his own brand of humour. But the movie gets quite serious at times (in an uneven sort of way) and there is also a bit of action. The movie makes some serious points about the state of current politics in the US - some of it relevant to any government. Williams is in fine form and he is supported by the excellent Christopher Walken who plays Dobbs’s political advisor and TV manager.
Man of the Year won’t be the film of the year, but it is a pleasant, humourous (although some of the jokes are pretty thin), thoughtful satire on contemporary politics that doesn’t try to do too much.
My Rating: *** (out of 5)
’The most refreshing thing about Man of the Year is its mingling of comedy and suspense with common decency. Levinson asks his countrymen not just to know their limits, but also to reach them.’ - Michael Sragow/Baltimore Sun
’Halfway through, the jokes stop - the laughs never began - and give way to a tiresome thriller.’ - Kyle Smith/New York Post
language including some crude sexual references, drug related material, and brief violence