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Worth A Look: 38.46%
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18 reviews, 87 user ratings

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Election (1999)
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by Dust For Eyes

"Delivers on its promises"
4 stars

Contrary to what some people may think, I don't go giddy and weak at the knees every time I hear the sound of a film projector and see every film I possibly can. 'American Pie' for instance I would not bother seeing for a very good reason. That very good reason is 'Election'

Teen films - you've got to hate them.

Especially the variety that give us a sterile, one-dimensional view of what teenagers are like. Are you like that? Were you like that? Do you want to be like that?

Obnoxious, cliché characters, played by actors in their twenties, who are far too obsessed about the looks and who to sleep with. Where does all the money come from for the cars and clothes?

Yes, you've got to hate teen films . . .

Nah, I like them,

There have been some really good ones amongst the admittedly bad ones. '10 Things I Hate About You' and 'Cruel Intentions' recently. 'Flirting' 'Pump Up The Volume' and 'Heathers' a while ago. For Broderick's sake I'll mention 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' and for my flat mate, 'Puberty Blues.' All of those films range from entertaining to worthwhile.

There are some awful ones, but we shouldn't disregard the genre.

I had some misgivings about this film before I saw 'Election' - MTV productions, a teen film that has a guy from 'American Pie' in it, an empty theatre. All bad omens for a film.

'Election' casts aside these handicaps and gives a fierce view into the world of high school politics.

Tracy Flick (Witherspoon) is the perfect student. Pretty, she's motivated, positive, excels in her studies, her hand is always up first when the teacher asks a question, she's involved in extra-curricular activities like the school year book and social committees. She's going places.

In other words, she is the most hateful thing on this and neighbouring planets.

History teacher, Jim McAllister (Broderick) agrees, and decides to set up some competition for Tracy, as she's the only one who's nominated for student body president. He convinces injured-football-hero, all-round-nice-guy, means-well-but-ultimately-a-bit-dim Paul (Klein doing his best young Keanu Reeves impersonation) to also enter the race.

Paul's outcast sister, Tammy (Campbell) also decides to run. Partly to get back at her brother's girlfriend (Ingrassia), partly to mock the whole student political system, but mostly to cause trouble and get herself expelled so she can go to the nearby catholic girls school. She runs on an S.F.W. platform to show her disgust in student politics.

Tracy is not all that happy in the McAllisters running in the election, but she's motivated, gun-ho and feels she'll win anyway. The unexpected developments though reveal cracks in her pristine façade. Will she lose it completely? She wants to win so much - what will she stoop to?

The best thing about 'Election' is how it takes its basis of a typical teen film and then uses that as a launching pad for far more interesting things. The characters are introduced as if they were taken directly from the How To Make A Teen Film Book, but then gradually we are introduced to new layers.

The film has the unusual yet effective feature of four narrators - Tracy, Paul, Tammy and Jim. This allows us to get into the minds of the four people and to give them a bit more depth.

The four leads do a good job in their performances in steering their characters away from the clichés. Considering her history, Witherspoon is perfectly cast as Tracy and is pretty much faultless. Broderick was probably a bit young to be cast as Jim (the fake gray hair is fooling nobody), but I guess that makes up for the 23 year old Witherspoon playing a schoolgirl.

Writer/Director Alexander Payne had previously dealt with the issue of abortion in 'Citizen Ruth.' That should tell you that he is not interested in light frivolous films. He has a nice style and the use of freeze frames was a nice touch. He did a great job with Witherspoon's Tracy.

"Democratic clean and lawful,
Awful awful awful awful."
- Michael Leunig

You can leave this film as simply being entertained, or if you feel so inclined think about school politics and politics in general.

'Election' gives much more than you might have initially expected from a teen film. Giving more than expected would be a good lesson for politics.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=438&reviewer=166
originally posted: 10/12/99 09:58:02
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User Comments

12/28/17 morris campbell funny satire on high school 4 stars
3/30/17 Blake Patterson Alexander Payne wrote Election with furious hilarity and dark passion. 5 stars
4/26/16 Ken Pretty funny. Matthew Broderick was great in this film. 4 stars
5/21/15 David Hollingsworth A savagely funny satire that hits like darts 5 stars
11/21/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome Story! 5 stars
9/03/07 Alan "Slap, then screw" -- is that how you relate to the female sex? 5 stars
10/02/06 Rob It should be said that the wardrobes and 'makeup' in this movie are subtly awesome. 4 stars
9/18/06 MP Bartley Genuinely brilliant. Witherspoon and Broderick are outstanding. 5 stars
2/25/06 Clubber Lang Watchable, but never really engaging. Too many characters, needed more focus. 3 stars
9/06/05 ALDO chris klein is perfect 4 stars
5/25/05 Jake Hilarious! 5 stars
3/24/05 indrid cold Surprisingly good, almost bizarrely good. 5 stars
12/07/03 Samuel A very funny film!! 4 stars
11/26/03 he a great film 5 stars
11/23/03 E. Best line "her pussy gets so wet" 5 stars
11/05/03 M. Suvajac an extraordinary film 5 stars
10/25/03 Al Baston Broderick clothes (those shirts & ties) are perfect for the fat ass dufess he plays. 5 stars
9/24/03 ILLEGALLY BLONDE The only time Reese Witherspoon ever shined; too bad it's in an overall groaner 3 stars
7/26/03 robert buizer great laugh 5 stars
4/03/03 Jack Sommersby Smart and hilariously human. Broderick and Witherspoon are outstanding. 4 stars
12/08/02 Kyle One of the greatest films I've ever seen. I don't say that lightly. 5 stars
11/02/02 Steve Kaczynski One of the last US films of the 20th century that I would call great.. 5 stars
10/17/02 Charles Tatum This sucks as bad as "Rushmore" 1 stars
8/24/02 movie guy great 5 stars
6/11/02 Millie Maelstrom Better, Kakararaniniginjia (though I was hoping for some groovy role for those enzymes!) 3 stars
5/14/02 Kakararaniniginjia Sinitraviwasanjofraz Fails urgent need of good support cast around brilliance of Reese Witherspoon's zany dliver 3 stars
3/07/02 Mo Anand A very funny movie...Matthew was better in "ferris bueller"...but still good 4 stars
3/05/02 Veronica Foxx -The Raven-Haired Temptress ELECTION deserves more credit and attention than it has received. Too bad really, good film 4 stars
3/01/02 Unagiboy Pick Flick! Witherspoon was brilliant. I loved the tribal chant music in her mind. 5 stars
2/25/02 Obi Wan Great Movie...MTv should make more flicks like this!! Instead of their PC garbage!! 5 stars
2/02/02 Allison Lafferty Reese Witherspoon's best movie (not saying much). She must really be that silly. 2 stars
1/23/02 John Wilner Note that Tracy signs her name with a star over the i in Flick. Rich detail throughout! 5 stars
11/15/01 John This deserved at least one Oscar 5 stars
11/12/01 Jake Not too shabby. 4 stars
11/03/01 Andrew Carden This Movie Was So Funny and Reese Was The Greatest Thing Ever! 5 stars
10/29/01 Gary Witty, subtle, well written and Reese Witherspoon is a star in the making. 5 stars
9/04/01 Butterbean Ferris Bueller's principal is avenged. Definantly an awesome flick! Reese rocked! 5 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk Insanely original. Broderick's best since Ferris Bueller. I loved it. 5 stars
7/23/01 bobbuttons This movie is so great. "Fuck me, Mr. M. Fuck me now" is the greatest line. 5 stars
6/10/01 Serial_Monk_the_Jawbreaker Great characters. Not too funny, but if this movie's trying to be evil, it succeeds 4 stars
5/31/01 BrainPan Yes, yes, ya'll! Me rikee!! 5 stars
4/09/01 Gary I saw it for the first time last night, and I loved it. Great flick! 5 stars
4/08/01 Will Y. it takes time to understand a lot of the underlying meaning about sexuality, but it's great 4 stars
2/06/01 Trashstar Witty, sharp, dark and very very funny. Reese shines as does Matthew. 5 stars
10/15/00 Dimmer Itch Reese proves she's better at any Sandras, Camerons or Heathers at comic acting. Fantastic. 4 stars
10/08/00 BirdBrain Very funny, if you pay attention to it. So if you're a dumbass Armageddon fan, stay away. 4 stars
7/12/00 Tom Wonderful dark comedy. Vote for Tracy Flick!!!!! 5 stars
7/06/00 Matthew Bartley Very different and funny.Reese is great 4 stars
6/26/00 stranded on the Island Best comedy I've seen in a long time; reese and matthew are perfect! 5 stars
6/02/00 Add A very good movie with some outstanding performances but just not as funny as i'd of liked. 4 stars
5/07/00 Stan Mador BEST MOVIE IVE SEEN! 5 stars
4/28/00 The Bomb 69 to intelligent for most people and that's unfortunate, great movie!!! 5 stars
4/24/00 Brian Engen The special effects were awesome!! 5 stars
2/20/00 arnold extremely funny 5 stars
2/14/00 Germanicus Good acting, a few funny bits, nice story and snappy editing but infinitely overrated. 4 stars
2/05/00 Kyle Broflovski A teenage girl in pursuit of something besides Prom Prince Charming?? PINCH ME!!! :-) 5 stars
1/26/00 Joel Harwood WHAT A FILM 5 stars
1/18/00 bullit17 Clever. Funny. Thought-provoking. Sure to remind you of high school and some kids you knew 4 stars
1/16/00 Will not to be too wordy, but all I have to say is "cool". 4 stars
11/29/99 Mic Sharp and hilarious - shows Drop Dead Gorgeous how it should be done 5 stars
11/08/99 Mark Linkson Broderick finally acts his age, Witherspoon excellent as usual, a very clever satire 4 stars
10/18/99 Tfer One of the best this year! 5 stars
8/22/99 Michael Grimm too well written for most retards watching movies nowadays, anyone with a brain loves it 5 stars
8/01/99 Jeff Hilarious and intelligent. Great acting. A should-be Best Picture nominee 5 stars
7/27/99 David Gilmour Definitely the best film of the Year, SO Far;7/99 5 stars
7/09/99 bridgette awesome. 5 stars
7/08/99 Ann Great! It's about time someone exposed the truths behind a 'little miss perfect' 5 stars
6/29/99 PhilmPhreak A welcome break from weak-ass summer flicks. 5 stars
6/29/99 Dave Rad as 5 stars
6/23/99 Tim best movie i've seen this year 5 stars
6/18/99 Michael Lewis Best film I,ve seen this year. Intelegent, well written and funny! 5 stars
6/14/99 David Really funny, and probably like nothing you've seen before, not even Rushmore. 5 stars
6/04/99 Lisa Sick and wrong on so many levels--I loved it! 5 stars
6/03/99 Mel I haven't felt this guilty laughing at a movie in a long time.... 5 stars
6/03/99 The Graduate A hilarous movie, heavy on the cruelty. Sometimes those perfectionist have to pay. 5 stars
5/27/99 pipeman If you like your humor dark, you'll love this. Great flick! 5 stars
5/26/99 GothamDK Got to be a little jaded. Type A students won't get it. Heathers is still better. 4 stars
5/25/99 Freyja Smart and FUNNY! 5 stars
5/22/99 bridgette loved it! i usually am not a reese fan, but she was great. 5 stars
5/20/99 Bob, Lord of Evil I won't say fuck Star Wars, but I'd rather see this a third time over that one... 5 stars
5/17/99 David K Fuck Star Wars 5 stars
5/10/99 Malbert It was great 5 stars
5/10/99 Katie Definately a great one, love the dark humor. 5 stars
5/07/99 BraveFan Richly satisfying - witty and engaging - saw it twice 5 stars
4/25/99 kam it'was ok 4 stars
4/25/99 Mr Showbiz A feralessly dark and funny adult comedy. 5 stars
4/11/99 the DUDE Matthew Brodrick is great-Fucking funny 5 stars
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  23-Apr-1999 (R)


  07-Oct-1999 (M)

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