The American President

Tucson Weekly

DIRECTED BY: Rob Reiner

REVIEWED: 11-22-95

Here's a film that aims to prove the adage that behind every successful man is a woman, with an emphasis on the behind. This jauntily sexist vision of America serves up images of men with political power and women with sexual power as the President of the United States (Michael Douglas) braves the perils of dating. Annette Bening plays the smart, high-paid lobbyist who's reduced to blushes and stammers when the guy walks in the room. Bening is ebullient in the role, which makes it even more inexcusable that her character should have no life and no past. She's a beautiful, mature woman without friends, lovers or children--she's simply available. You can see the filmmakers struggling to paint an optimistic, politically liberal picture of what America can be, but they get all tripped up on gender and paint instead a politically conservative world where men make decisions and women wait in the wings, clutching bouquets of flowers. If you can crowd the sexism out of your consciousness, The American President has some funny moments, though much of the humor is of the I'm-the-Commander-in-Chief-and-you're-not variety. Not for the impressionable.

--Stacey Richter

Other Films by Rob Reiner
The Story of Us

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