Movie News and Reviews: Man of the Year

Man of the Year has the potential to be an incredibly entertaining look at what would happen if a comedian ran for president of the United States-and won. This latest film from director Barry Levinson (Good Morning, Vietnam; Wag the Dog) stars Robin Williams as Tom Dobbs, a political comedian who decides to run for president. Fans of Williams’ comedy acts are sure to love Dobbs’ style of telling it like it is-most of his jokes are biting and laugh-out-loud funny, though at times they can seem predictable and unoriginal (for example, the one about looking through the Ikea catalogue for his Cabinet).

The plot starts to break down as it becomes more and more unbelievable, and unfortunately the witty political satire starts to fade as a romantic storyline comes into play. Dobbs ends up winning the presidential election, and though he was never strong in the polls during the campaign, there is no backlash or questioning.

A problem is presented when he is told that his victory is due to an error in the new computerized voting system. The creator of the software, Eleanor Green, played by Laura Linney, wants to come clean to the American people, but when her bosses Hemmings and Stewart (played by Rick Roberts and Jeff Goldblum, respectively) find out about her plan, the movie seems more like a second rate thriller than a comedy. The film suffers even more of an identity crisis as it attempts to develop a love story between Green and Dobbs.

Man of the Year is just too ambitious in what it tries to accomplish. Despite the disappointing subplots, a few cast members are able to provide some high points throughout the movie. Christopher Walken plays Dobbs manager, and The Daily Show’s Lewis Black is funny as Dobbs’ former talk-show writer and current political speech writer. At the least, Man of the Year leaves the viewer wondering if this scenario could come true-with Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert heading the country-but otherwise, it is just not executed well enough to earn the popular vote.