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OTHER ITA SITES:
Man of the Year is a Winner
Man of the Year
Cast: Robin Williams, Laura Linney, Christopher Walken, Lewis Black
Director/Writer: Barry Levinson
by Mike Walker, co-author, Cinemental Journeys, a guide to classic movie theaters in the Midwest (http://www.moonbookstore.com)
Superb one-liners and likeable characters make Man of the Year worthwhile. Starring Robin Williams as a Jon Stewart-type talk show host turned presidential candidate, the story deftly takes on the issues of paid-for politicians, undependable voting machines, and debates that arenít really debates.
In Man of the Year, Williamsí character Tom Dobbs faces the dilemma many politicians face, that of choosing ethics at the cost of loss of power. Williams is in his element, glibly tossing out one-liners while growing his popularity with his straight, self-effacing talk and refreshing honesty. Itís no easy task to make any character played by the snarling, fuss-monger Lewis Black sympathetic, but Barry Levinson pulls it off.
Laura Linney is believable as the highly ethical voting software company employee who discovers a computer glitch that skews election results, and Christopher Walken comes on strong as Tom Dobbsí manager.
Highlighting Man of the Year is the presidential debate scene, where Dobbs breaks free of the insipid, constrictive rules that turn debates into agonizing, lacerating bores. Dobbs instead leaps away from the safety of his podium and, over the shouts of the moderator desperately trying to regain control, says the kind of things that need to be said during debates, but almost never are.
If there is a complaint to be made about Man of the Year, its that it tried to be too many things, comedy, political thriller, romantic love story, and action drama. But with its compelling story and characters, those things can be forgiven.
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