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The American President

7/10
Romance . Drama . Comedy
 

Widowed U.S. president Andrew Shepherd, one of the world's most powerful men, can have anything he wants -- and what he covets most is Sydney Ellen Wade, a Washington lobbyist. But Shepherd's attempts at courting her spark wild rumors and decimate his approval ratings.

 
Actors: Nina Siemaszko , Richard Dreyfuss , Samantha Mathis , Shawna Waldron , Anna Deavere Smith , Martin Sheen , Michael J. Fox , Annette Bening , Michael Douglas , David Paymer
Directors: Rob Reiner
Country: USA
Release: 1995-11-17
More Info:
  • Roger Ebert

    Watching The American President, I felt respect for the craft that went into it: the flawless re-creation of the physical world of the White House, the smart and accurate dialogue, the manipulation of the love story to tug our heartstrings.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Jack Kroll

    All this is good fun -- some of which is anticipating the pained reaction from conservative Hollywood-hasslers. Director Rob Reiner has a fine smooth touch, Douglas is charismatic, Bening is scrumptious -- you want to put all these dream politicos in a doggy bag and take them home. [20 Nov 1995, p.28]

    Newsweek Full Review
  • Richard Corliss

    As bustling and impassioned as the best Sturges and Capra movies, this one captures both the purposeful edginess of Administration Pooh-Bahs (Martin Sheen, Michael J. Fox, David Paymer and Samantha Mathis--nice jobs, all) and the isolation of the President. [20 Nov 1995, p.117]

    Time Full Review
  • Barbara Shulgasser

    An old-fashioned movie. It is simplistic, full of stock characters and easy solutions to difficult problems, and I absolutely loved it.

    San Francisco Examiner Full Review
  • Elvis Mitchell

    With great looks, a dandy supporting cast, a zinger-filled screenplay by Aaron Sorkin ("A Few Good Men") and Mr. Douglas twinkling merrily in the Oval Office, The American President is sunny enough to make the real Presidency pale by comparison.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Ian Nathan

    Of course it's hokey and silly, but Reiner really knows how to skirt potential schmaltz and there is a political backbone to the piece which gives it reassuring depth.

    Empire Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    It's a revamped Cinderella story with power as the aphrodisiac, and Douglas and Bening play it to the classy hilt. The courtship scenes in the film's lighter, more deft first half have the bounce of a moonstruck fable.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Edward Guthmann

    In Sorkin's vision, this is what ought to happen when a political progressive occupies the White House -- provided he has principles, guts and more on his mind than voter-approval polls and re- election prospects.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • David Sterritt

    Michael Douglas and Annette Bening head the well-chosen cast, but what gives the movie substance is its willingness to take real stands on real political issues.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Desson Thomson

    Wittily scripted, engagingly sappy, completely implausible and unabashedly Capraesque, it's a rather wonderful crock.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    Genial middle-brow fare that coasts a long way on the charm of its two stars

    Variety Full Review
  • Owen Gleiberman

    In the end, the movie says that the President's private life matters, all right -- that Shepherd should get the girl and reestablish his leadership by giving in to the noble liberal he always was inside. Even for a modern Capra fable, that's a bit much to swallow.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    It comes across as painfully politically correct, offering trite sermons on various "hot-button" issues (gun control and the greenhouse effect). The narrative follows an unwavering by-the-numbers strategy with an ending that echoes the "cornball" of Al Pacino's climactic Scent of a Woman speech.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Jonathan Rosenbaum

    A pleasant, inoffensive, and (quite properly) mindless diversion.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    Genial and entertaining if not notably inspired. But its most interesting aspect turns out to be fantasies of another kind, pipe dreams about the American political system and where it could theoretically be headed.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Rita Kempley

    Like Shepherd's speech, The American President touches on all manner of issues but illumines none of them. And while there are some engaging glimpses of the president's staff in action...the film's principal pleasures lie in the president's pursuit of a first lady.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Rick Groen

    These days, when presidential bouquets are named Gennifer Flowers, and when we all know what Jack Kennedy did beneath the White House covers, this sort of Capra-corn, even in the guise of light comedy, just doesn't have the same taste. More salt, please, and hold the butter.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Staff (Not Credited)

    Douglas's Chief Executive is no vote-getter; he's a charmless, irritating boob who can't even order flowers for a woman. With friends like Douglas and Reiner, Clinton doesn't need Rush Limbaugh.

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • Terrence Rafferty

    It's a shame that the movie whose coattails these wonderful actors are attached to is such an empty suit.

    The New Yorker Full Review
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