I'm not sure my view of this film will be in line with the majority, but I see the film as a relevant and interesting commentary on U.S. politics. I will concede the statement is better than the actual film; the intentions certainly outweigh the results, but I am willing to give part marks. Oddly enough a challenge for director Levinson is that Robin Williams is in the film. Anytime Robin Williams is in a film which is not obviously a dark one like One Hour Photo or The Night Listener then people seem to jump to the conclusion that it will be a comedy. This film is not a comedy; there are comedic moments, but it is basically a political satire. There is much in the film that can be seen as weak or negative, but it can just as easily be taken positively.
The political satire in the film is quite subtle, which certain viewers might mistakenly take as weakness. Barry Levinson, the man who directed the underrated but brilliant "Wag The Dog", is definitely making a strong statement about how government is no longer the voice of the people; they do not represent us any more. There are reminders throughout the film that the power of change rests within the hands of the electorate.
The 'thriller' type subplot involving the Laura Linney character again might be seen different by most, but it is an interesting statement about how one person can make a difference. It is sometimes too simple to interpret something of this sort as 'oh, look how easy it is for large corporation to squash an individual'. C'mon people, the glass can be half full!
There will be some complaints that all the humour in the film has a familiar feeling to it. We been there done that with Robin Williams before. Everyone does have to admit that the strongest parts of the film are when Williams is allowed to do his thing.
Tom Dobbs (Robin Williams – Good Will Hunting, The Birdcage) is a TV political comedian who is continuously joking about running for President. Before he knows it some people via the internet have entered him to run as an independent in the 2008 election for President. Not really knowing what is in store for him Dobbs agrees to run. Once on the campaign trail, aided by his manager Jack Menkin (Christopher Walken – The Deer Hunter, Wedding Crashers) and head writer Eddie Langston (Lewis Black – stand up comedian), surprisingly Dobbs does well. So well in fact that he wins the election and becomes President of the United States. Unbeknownst to Dobbs he is elected due to a glitch in the new software program used for elections. Software analyst Eleanor Green (Laura Linney – You Can Count on Me, Kinsey) discovers the glitch, but she is silenced by the software company's ruthless lawyer, Alan Stewart (Jeff Goldblum – The Fly, Igby Goes Down).
The problems with the film mirror the main character's realization in the latter part of the film that people are a little bored with what he has to say because he is being serious as opposed to his usual funny. It is tough sledding for the film because of all the preconceived notions people will have about it being a comedy. Give the film a chance, have an open mind and it will be an enjoyable time at the movies.
-Commander and Chief featurette
-Robin Williams – A "Stand Up" Guy