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Election (1999)

Cast: Matthew Broderick, Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, more...
Director: Alexander Payne, Alexander Payne
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Paramount
Genre: Comedies
Running Time: 103 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

This title is currently out of print.

In this satirical comedy, a hotly contested high school election becomes a metaphor for the current state of American politics. Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick) is a popular and well-respected instructor at George Washington Carver High School in Omaha, Nebraska, but lately he's been unhappy in both his personal and professional life, and his anxieties finally come to a head with the school's student elections. Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) is running for student body president, and she certainly seems like the sort of girl who would win a high school election -- she's pretty, popular and takes part in all the right extra-curricular activities. In fact, she seems so perfect she's running unopposed, which offends McAllister's sense of democracy (not to mention the fact he doesn't like her very much). So Jim intervenes and persuades Paul Metzler (Chris Klein) to run against Tracy. Paul is not terribly bright and is entirely unqualified to be student president, but as a star of the school's football team (before a leg injury sidelined him), he's popular enough to at least give Tracy a run for her money. Just as the race begins to heat up, a spanner is truly thrown into the works when Paul's sister, Tammy (Jessica Campbell) announces she's also running for office. Publicly, Tammy's platform is that the student elections are ultimately pointless and if she's elected, she'll eliminate them altogether. Privately, Tammy is out for revenge against her brother; it seems Tammy is experimenting with her sexuality, and a recent fling with a bisexual classmate named Lisa (Frankie Ingrassia) ended when Lisa dumped her to start going out with Paul. Based on the novel by Tom Perrotta, Election was directed by Alexander Payne, who won enthusiastic reviews for his debut feature, Citizen Ruth; Payne also co-wrote the screenplay with Jim Taylor. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

You might also enjoy:
Dark comic school hijinx, a bit more whimsical in tone

Cult classic takes apart the high school genre with a delightful bitterness

Pump Up the Volume
Life is hard (Harry); More high school angst, also uses school as a reflection of societal ills

GreenCine Member Reviews

waste of time by alexjb February 15, 2005 - 12:30 AM PST
2 out of 11 members found this review helpful
what the heck? satirical comedy? metaphor for american politics? dark comedy? what movie was this guy watching? none of that makes any sense to me.

i'm a big fan of matthew broderick, and i even enjoyed reese witherspoon in a couple of things, but this movie is pretty Lame.

if anything, it's a little bit of a character study- we get internal monologues from the several main characters, but they're all high school students except broderick, whose the main guy, and almost genetically incapable of playing it dark or angry.

as for 'dark comedy', this really doesn't cut it. the music and staging keep everything pretty light and almost silly. the characters are almost completely one-dimensional, and the laughs come from the almost-parody-level stereotyping. the only thing interesting about this is the concept of one otherwise trivial event snowballing into something life changing for a wide set of people. but that's been done so much better in so many other movies, i strongly advise against wasting time on this one.

now Heathers- there's some dark comedy and great dialogue; Pump Up the Volume- there's your metaphor for society and a great cynical youth performace by Christian Slater. Even Mean Girls has more to offer than Election. skip it.

Great dark comedy.. by bayp April 5, 2004 - 7:39 PM PDT
3 out of 6 members found this review helpful
When this movie first came out in the theatres, I think I saw it four times. I haven't seen it since.. I happened across it again one day when I was browsing through titles here at Green Cine and I'm glad that I did.

This movie focuses around the life of a teacher (played by Matthew Broderick) who is the faculty advisor of the student government. He has problems at home, and they're only compounded by a dislike for a student named Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon).

Anyhow, his goal is to keep her from winning the election for student government.

Does he succede?

Well, I hate to sound all "high school book report" but you'll have to watch the movie to find out..

What I will say, though, is that this is very funny movie. You'll love Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon's performance.. and Chris Klein is great! It's certainly his type of character..

Give it a rent if you have the time.. it's a little on the dark side of comedy, but if that's your kind of movie then you'll definitely enjoy this!

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.21)
1323 Votes
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