Release Date: October 13th, 2006 by Universal Pictures.
The Cast: Robin Williams, Christopher Walken, Laura Linney, Lewis Black, Jeff Goldblum, David Alpay.
Directed by Barry Levinson.
BASIC PREMISE: Tom Dobbs (Williams), a talk show host, unexpectedly wins the election as President of the United States.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Man of the Year awkwardly blends the genres of comedy, political satire, drama and action thriller, but fails in each case. The first act is pretty solid and includes a few decent laughs as Tom Dobbs cracks many political jokes—the biggest joke, though, is that he runs for President of the United States without any advertising. After a computer glitch at Delacroy Computer Systems, he wins the election and that’s when the plot suddenly shifts to a more dramatic tone, but with nothing refreshingly imaginative or surprising. Christopher Walken and Lewis Black add a few ephemeral moments of comic energy as Dobbs’ campaign manager and speech writer, respectively. Meanwhile, Eleanor Green (Linney), a programmer for Delacroy, discovers the glitch and notifies her boss (Goldblum), but he does everything in his power to shut her up—including injecting her with drugs to label her as a crazy drug-addict. By this point, the convoluted plot is just in the middle of the second act and gets even more chaotic as it progresses. This movie feels like 3 movies in 1, but none of them are particularly engaging. Writer/director Barry Levinson also directed Robin Williams in Good Morning, Vietnam, which has a much funnier and livelier script. It’s disappointing that Levinson has mastered the political satire/comedy/drama genres in his masterful Wag the Dog and Robin Williams is more than capable of being funny—but with funny material like in Good Morning Vietnam. As proven with Man of the Year, lightening rarely strikes twice.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: A convoluted, unfocused plot.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 6
IN A NUTSHELL: Initially funny, but mostly too convoluted, unfocused and dull.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV
The "M" Menu