Peter Shelley | Sydney, New South Wales Australia | 03/27/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Director Michael Lindsay-Hogg is no stranger to films about politics, having made the Nixon era parody Nasty Habits . Here we get a Bill and Hillary Clinton-ish parallel featuring Ed Harris as a Presidential candidate and Diane Keaton as his fiance with a past. At first the HBO teleplay by A. L. Appling ( a pseudonymed Carole Eastman) is happy to present an amiable battle of the sexes comedy, giving Diane Keaton a wit which undercuts the perceived reactionary nature of politics as compromise. However things get serious when Harris' spin doctors uncover a pseudo-pornographic anti-Nixon film Keaton has participated when previously married to an "artist", which is seen as potentially damaging to Harris' position. When the film is screened the actress is clearly not Keaton and though it's a stretch to imagine Keaton doing the film, that is the point. When Harris is confronted by the "scandal" he delivers a speech to the media, denouncing their interest in Keaton's past activities as being irrelevant to his capability as a future President. Eastman here is touching on the perception of the voter, predating Clinton's Lewinsky scandal, and whether or not one believes the press' reaction to Harris' condemnation probably measures one's level of naivety/optimism/cynicism. The discovery of the film is a plot point which lifts the narrative when things threaten to collapse. The point of Keaton's outspokenness making her an inappropriate First Lady are sledgehammered home, with Keaton hating the media coverage until her personality begins to disappear. She is an author of children's books, The Frog Prince being her most awarded, which stands as a metaphor for Harris and his political ambitions. Harris is probably better being a player than romancing with Keaton, his splintered focus and shallow sincerity authentic. And although Keaton is charming and funny, the initial romance doesn't ring true, with she wearing sunglasses at their first meeting and he repeatedly commenting on how attractive she is. Even a speech Keaton gives to embarass him at lunch, which convinces him to hire her as a speechwriter isn't that particularly funny. Eastman however does come up with otherwise great lines - I liked Keaton objecting to Harris' scrutiny with "there's looking, and there's ocular invasion", her "How did I sink to these heights", and "Did you spring from the womb and ask the way to the oval office?". Lindsay-Hogg provides a nice cut from Harris delivering the same speech at a church and then a synagogue, though he doesn't do much to help Russ Tamblyn as the one who provides Keaton's film. Mention is made of Ed Begley, Jnr as Keaton's oddball brother, and the running gag of the Joe Cocker song You are so Beautiful."
Bob A. Gabbert | Seattle, WA USA | 03/12/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Ed Harris is excellent as a Senator who wants to be President. Diane Keaton is good as the author of children's books who attracts the attention of the Senator, because he couldn't have her in high school???? She has some good lines that all of us would like to say when the political "handlers" try to stiffile her independent mouth. Keaton would be better if she would just stop playing her Anne Hall character in every film. Ed Begley is excellent as her excentric brother who is fearful of everything possible, because he lost his girlfriend. Ed Harris saves this film, as he often does, by acting like we would like for our Senators to act... with integrity."
Laurel-Rain Snow "Rain" | Fresno, California | 03/26/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The movie was enjoyable, although the sound quality of the tape could have been better."