on 23 December 2007
This is one of Kevin Klines funniest roles playing the ordinary Joe Dave Kovic who has the appearance that resembles the president. When the president suffers from a severe stroke the government wants Dave to fill in for the president while he is out. When Dave takes on the role of the president and and has to take on the life that the president left behind for him like the first lady played by Sigourney Weaver who hated him. Dave needs to take on his relationship with the first lady, his advisor's played by Frank Langella and Kevin Dunn (the only people who know who Dave really is) ,and the country. Memorable Kline film in a brilliant double role.
Sweet natured, warm hearted, funny, a little sentimental, and with a surprising, sharp political edge best sums up this story about a man who gets to play president, takes on the bad guys and gets the girl in a happy ending.
President William Mitchell is a political sleaze who two-times his wife, Ellen (Sigourney Weaver), betrays his few principles and doesn't care much about anything. He frequently employs look alikes so he can have unnoticed time for his bimbos. But this time, after a major speech, while he's in the midst of love making, he has a major stroke in the arms of his latest girl friend. His double this time is a guy who runs a temp agency, who tries to help the people he comes into contact with and who has a sunny, open disposition. He's the kind of guy who sings "Oklahoma!" while riding his bike. He's named Dave Kovic and he's played by Kevin Kline in a first-rate performance of great charm and likeability. But the chief of staff, Bob Alexander (Frank Langella), an arrogant and condescending politico, plots to keep Dave in place by putting out the story that the president suffered only a "minor circulatory problem of the head." While the innocent lamb Dave covers as the president, Alexander will smear the vice president and force him to resign, then have himself named vice president...at which time Dave will go back to his old life and William Mitchell will be discovered to have had a second and incapacitating stroke. Bob Alexander will then become president.
All goes according to plan until Dave begins to ask questions about helping the poor. He begins to connect with people. He and his best friend, Murray Blum (Charles Grodin) plot to find ways to locate $650 million in the budget to save a shelters program. All this drives Alexander into a frustrated rage. And during all this Dave and Ellen begin to make some connections of their own. She and her real husband had long since stopped having any feelings for each other. The conclusion of the movie is clever, satisfying, requires the complicity of Duane Stevenson (Ving Rhames), the president's secret service body guard, and split second timing.
Some of the reasons this movie works so well, in my opinion, is that all the actors do fine jobs, not just Kline and Weaver. Langella is great (and amusing) as a king maker who wants to be king himself this time. Laura Linney carries off a small but important role with great humor and skill. Charles Grodin as Murray hits just the right note of funny, reluctant suspicion. Scattered throughout the movie are pointed interviews with media and political figures, commenting with dead pan seriousness on the activities of the president.
The music gets a bit sappy at times, but that's not a major drawback. All in all, Dave is something of a throwback to the Frank Capra movies, but with a bit of a sting. I've watched it more than once and enjoy it. The DVD picture looks just fine.
on 7 February 2011
I have only just discovered this gem (shame on me!) and I love it! Yes, you could drive a presidential motorcade through the plot, and make a tv documentary on the "goofs" - but who cares? It's a wonderful modern (though unmistakably pre 9/11) American fairy-tale, complete with delightful hero in Kevin Kline's Dave, a superb big bad wolf, provided by Frank Langella's White House Chief of Staff Bob Alexander, and, of course, a beautiful Queen - sorry, First Lady - in Sigourney Weaver.
For me, two performances stand out. Kline - as both the naive but caring Dave of the title, and his look-a-like cold, corrupt, self-centred President Mitchell - is absolutely pitch-perfect. In what must rank as one of the most intelligent comedy performances ever, Kline slowly cloaks Dave's innate but slightly kooky goodness with Mitchell's controlled, authoritative persona, to the baffled fury of Langella's Iago-like Alexander. Dave's charm is that he likes people - he remembers names, faces, their likes and dislikes - but whilst being genuinely sweet, he is neither fool nor wimp, as Alexander discovers to his cost. And Langella is wonderful, as the totally amoral, power-hungry king-maker who would be king. In a flicker of an eyebrow, a sideways glance, Langella conjures up all the evil one would want to see on screen.
Kevin Dunn, equally good as his side-kick, Allen Reed, is a more ambivalent character. He makes the single word "Wrong?" sound like a totally alien concept, as, in this White House,it is; but he is possibly redeemable, as his gradual shift of loyalties from Alexander to Dave shows. Ving Rhames, as presidential bodyguard Duane Stevenson, somehow manages to convey a range of emotions whilst maintaining a straight, "on-duty" expression, and he and Kline actually moved me to tears near the end.
But this is all a bit too serious. "Dave" is a funny, witty, feel-good comedy, although offering a sharply satiric view of power and those who crave it. As a Brit, I am used to our national pastime of poking fun at the great and the good, from royalty downwards, but I was genuinely surprised at seeing the same thing in a USA context - with the enthusiastic participation of real-life politicians and commentators, which was brilliantly done, including Oliver Stone's insistence on a conspiracy at the White House!
If anything didn't work for me, it was the love interest. I do not understand how two such consummate artists as Kline and Weaver somehow failed to bring this to life, but the screen chemistry just wasn't there. Weaver was great as the deeply pissed-off First Lady - "Why can't you die of a stroke like everyone else?" - but the couple's occasional love-struck glances put me in mind of someone lusting after chocolate cake.
But this is to carp, and the whole package is wonderfully enjoyable. Both film and Mr Kline were pipped to the Golden Globes awards by Mrs Doubtfire and Robin Williams - it was a good year for comedy - but if I could only take one DVD onto a desert island, it would be "Dave".
Apparently, Kevin Kline was constantly told by his fellow-Americans that they wished his Dave was in the White House - until the last change of administration. Well ... we don't have any nonsense about politicians having to be born in the UK - so if Mr Kline ever gets tired of acting ..... ? ;)
on 17 October 2012
This review is only for the new Bluray version: Dave [Blu-ray]  [US Import]
I really love this film and I have watched it many times. When I noticed it has come out on Bluray I had to get it.....
The lead actors: Sigourney Weaver...well..let's be honest, anyone who can 'win' a President, figure out how some blue skinned people tick and in particular get the better of a bunch of really nasty Aliens can do no wrong in my book! As an aside, I have to confess I am really perplexed why the Amazon 'Product details' lists many of the movie actors but misses Sigourney Weaver off!? WHY Amazon? Kevin Kline also is a great and engaging actor who is brilliant in his characters and I can't finish without adding Frank Langella again plays his character brilliantly ...fab.
As I said earlier I love the film. In my mind the acting is just 'right' for the type of movie. The plot blends a simple story, sometimes subtle and sometime obvious emotional portrayals, interspersed with some humour and romance.
On a more technical note, I couldn't seem to find out if the import Bluray was region free but I took a chance. I can report my copy, imported from the USA, pays perfectly here in the UK. Assuming this is generally true; I hope this helps any other uncertain UK viewers.
Ok it may be a 'girly' thing but I love a happy ending... break out the popcorn, chocolate and possibly tissues, hit play and I hope you enjoy. :-)
on 3 October 2003
A touching, warm, friendly film, perfect for cuddling up on the sofa with a tub of icecream on a dark winter's night...
One of the best endorsements of the film is the fact that a steady stream of real politicians and journalists (including their Speaker, Jay Leno and the US equivalents of David Dimbleby and Jeremy Paxman) agreed to appear.
It even has Schwarzenegger campaigning - kind of ironic, ten years later...
The DVD has an added bonus that I've not come across elsewhere yet - it's double sided, with the widescreen version on one side and regular view on the other. This is perfect if you haven't got a widescreen telly yet.
Buy it - you won't be sorry...
on 20 August 2012
I am just about to order a 4th or 5th copy. A standard practice I follow with friends who need an uplift of spirits.
This is all about that most elusive quality: emotional intelligence. I will send my copy direct to the current friend in need.
Kevin Kline is brilliant in this. He is a stand-in for the US President who has a stroke and is reduced to a vegetable, but hidden away, while the White Office top brass go on running the government using the stand-in as a front.
For a time, the problem is to confuse the wife into believing he is the real President. But then, he takes to the job and begins to do things far better than the original.
The disjunction between what should happen in politics and what does happen is a constant tension.
Many of the real senators have small parts in the film which has great charm.
C. O. DeRiemer from (San Antonio, Texas, USA) has written a good review of this surprising film and I agree. I have always been a fan of Kevin Kline after seeing him acting in a Shakespeare and he has made many enjoyable films since then in a varied career. Sigorney Weaver is in a strong supporting role and plays it to perfection. As in the "Ice Storm", the chemistry is powerful between the two and lights up the screen regularly.
An amusing but not original idea, it has some interesting twists and turns along the way, some sharp political points and, all in all, my wife and I enjoyed it. The DVD quality is fine and the product details give all the specs. It is a very enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours.
Dave is directed by Ivan Reitman and written by Gary Ross. It stars Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Frank Langella, Kevin Dunn, Ving Rhames, Ben Kingsley, Tom Dugan, Charles Grodin and Laura Linney. Music is by James Newton Howard and cinematography by Adam Greenberg.
Dave Kovic (Kline) is an ordinary Joe type of guy who just happens to look like the current president of the U.S.A (also played by Kline). In fact he makes a little extra cash on the side of his Temp Agency business by impersonating the president at openings and such. When president Mitchell suffers a stroke, the White House Chief of Staff Bob Alexander (Langella) instills Dave as the president so as to feather his own ambitions to become President...
It's actually a joy in this day and age to go back and visit a comedy like Dave, for it proves to be refreshingly simple. It's a case of being honest comedy that is well written, a story that in spite of the undoubted preposterousness of plotting, carries you along by the sheer willingness to put a smile on your face. True, clichés are rife, but it isn't fishing in the toilet bowl for its laughs, or beating you over the head with raucous shouty antics so beloved by the MTV generation.
A great cast is assembled for the fun, led superbly by the talented Kline in a role that so easily could have been over done in a lesser comic actor's hands. Helps as well that Kline can do good drama, so when the film inevitably turns into serious mode, and politico posturing gets a caustic once over, the transition is handled expertly. Weaver is pure charm, finding great chemistry with Kline, Langella wonderfully stomps around in chief villain mode, Dunn and Rhames score high and Grodin as usual owns the brief scenes he is in. While an Oliver Stone cameo scene is sheer brilliance.
There is no pushing the boundaries of comedy here, and it wasn't trying to outsmart the 1990s cinema goer, it's simplicity supreme and as honest as the day is long. Which quite frankly is sometimes all you need in this big hurry up world of today. 8/10
on 31 December 2011
If you like lots of sex, violence and swearing, this isn't for you. If you want a film that tells a good story, with good actors performing well, without mush, then give it a try. My wife and I LOVED it when it first came out and couldn't understand why it didn't do better at the box office, but then the hard bitten cynical critics didn't like it. We have watched it many times since. It is a truly satisfying movie - watch it of an evening and sleep well that night. Good triumphs, evil is punished, there's a love story, a great ending, what more could you want?
This is a romantic comedy directed by Ivan Reitman starring Kevin Kline as the eponymous hero. President Bill Mitchell (also Kevin Kline) is taken seriously ill when he suffers a stroke during an extra-marital liason with Randi (Laura Linney). A stand-in is urgently needed to fulfil the President's duties until he hopefully recovers. Just by chance, Secret Service Agent Duane Stevensen (Ving Rhames) happens on Dave Kovic, manager of an employment agency, who is a complete ringer for the President. Dave is coached into the part because the White House power-brokers know that they cannot mold Vice-President Gary Nance (Ben Kingsley) to do their bidding. But once `in office' Dave has ideas of his own about helping the disadvantaged and unemployed. The President's wife, Ellen Mitchell (Sigourney Weaver), leads an essentially separate life to the President but also is highly motivated with a social conscience. She is therefore surprised and delighted when her new `husband' starts supporting her in her social causes. President Mitchell eventually dies, Nance takes over, and Ellen is out of a job or home. This is a delightful entertaining film with no violence.