REVIEW: DAVE

CAST

Kevin Kline (Chaplin)
Sigourney Weaver (Avatar)
Frank Langella (Masters of The Universe)
Kevin Dunn (Transformers)
Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Tom Dugan (Beethoven’s 2nd)
Charles Grodin (The Ex)
Laura Linney (The Truman Show
Stephen Root (Dodgeball)
Bonnie Hunt (Jumanji)

Dave Kovic runs a temporary employment agency in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., and has a side job impersonating President Bill Mitchell. He is requested by Secret Service agent Duane Stevensen to make an appearance as the President at a hotel. Dave assumes it is a matter of security, but it is really to cover up Mitchell’s extramarital affair with a White House staffer. Mitchell suffers a severe stroke during the rendezvous, leaving him in a coma. White House Chief of Staff Bob Alexander and Communications Director Alan Reed convince Dave to continue impersonating the President, telling him that Vice President Gary Nance is mentally unbalanced. Only Bob, Alan, the Secret Service, and the medical staff know of the switch. First Lady Ellen Mitchell leads a separate life, rarely seeing the President.The public is notified that Mitchell has had a “minor circulatory problem of the head.” With Dave established as President, Bob and Alan send Nance on a 12-nation goodwill tour of Africa and implicate him in a savings and loan fraud. Once Nance is forced to resign, Bob plans for Dave to nominate him as Vice President, whereupon Mitchell will have a more serious stroke and Bob will ascend to the Presidency. Dave’s enthusiasm revives Mitchell’s popularity. He visits a homeless shelter with Ellen, who does not understand why he has taken a sudden interest. Bob forges Mitchell’s veto of a funding bill that includes the shelter. When Dave is confronted about the veto by Ellen, he confronts Bob, who offhandedly tells him that if he can cut $650 million from the federal budget he can keep the shelter. Dave has his accountant friend Murray Blum help him rewrite the budget so that the project may be reinstated. To make sure that Bob doesn’t stop him, Dave does it publicly in front of the press.Suspecting that he is not really her husband, Ellen tricks Dave into revealing the truth. Dave and Duane show her Bill on life support in the White House basement. She and Dave decide to leave the White House. However, after a night out, they realize all the good they could still do and decide to return. Dave blackmails Bob into resigning by threatening to go public with the switch, then announces a plan to find a job for every American who wants work. Nance returns from Africa and confronts Dave about the savings and loan scandal, insisting they both know there is no merit to the allegations. Dave talks to Alan, who reveals the whole plan was Bob’s idea. Meanwhile, Bob reveals Mitchell’s involvement in the savings and loan scandal while pushing his own candidacy for the presidency. Realizing that he can’t go into hiding, Dave decides to take responsibility for Mitchell’s actions.The scandal will make the jobs program difficult to pass, but Nance tells Dave that it is a wonderful idea. Dave tells Ellen that Nance is a good man and he would make a great president. Realizing what is planned, Ellen tells him that she does not want to lose him. The next day in a joint session of Congress, Dave admits to Mitchell’s role in the scandal, but introduces evidence proving Bob was the mastermind and Nance is innocent. Bob realizes that Alan has betrayed him. Dave fakes a stroke and makes a switch with the real Mitchell in an ambulance en route to the hospital. Nance becomes Acting President under the terms of the 25th Amendment and is sworn in as President five months later when Mitchell dies. Bob and eight other members of the Mitchell Administration are indicted on 34 charges of law violations and obstruction of justice two days after Dave’s jobs initiative passes. Dave decides to run for city council and Ellen comes to the office to volunteer. As they embrace, Duane stands guard outside the office door.To those who may say that “Dave” doesn’t give a true reflection on American politics or make a political statement, I would agree with them, but then it surely didn’t mean to. Its just a charming little comedy and/or love story that’s easy on mind and eye, and for what its worth I thought it was great.

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REVIEW: DEFINITELY, MAYBE

CAST

Ryan Reynolds (Two Guys and a Girl)
Abigail Breslin (Scream Queens)
Isla Fisher(Confessions of a Shopaholic)
Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games)
Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy)
Kevin Kline (Dave)
Derek Luke (Spartan)
Daniel Eric Gold (Ugly Betty)
Kevin Corrigan (Superbad)

Will Hayes (Ryan Reynolds) is a 38-year-old father who is in the midst of a divorce. After her first sex-ed class, his 10-year-old daughter Maya (Abigail Breslin) insists on hearing the story of how her parents met. Will gives in, but decides to change the names and some of the facts relating to the various love affairs of his youth, thereby creating a love mystery; Maya is left guessing which of the women will turn out to be her mother. The story he tells Maya is depicted in long flashbacks. From time to time the film switches back to the present, where Maya comments (often disdainfully) and asks questions.
The story begins in 1992 when Will, a starry-eyed aspiring political operative, moves away from Wisconsin and his college sweetheart, Emily (Elizabeth Banks) to New York City, where he works on the Clinton campaign. Over the years, Will becomes involved with three women who enter and re-enter his life, including Summer Hartley (Rachel Weisz) an aspiring journalist, and April (Isla Fisher) the copy girl for the campaign. Will and April have a chance meeting outside work, where Will reveals he is going to propose to Emily. When Will practices his proposal to Emily on April, she is taken aback by Will’s heartfelt words, and replies, “Definitely, maybe.” They go back to her apartment, where April has multiple copies of Jane Eyre in her collection, explaining that her father gave her a copy with an inscription in the front shortly before he died, and the book was later lost. She has spent years looking through copies of Jane Eyre at secondhand stores hoping to find the copy her father gave her, but she buys any copy she finds that has an inscription. They kiss, but Will backs away and leaves.
 Emily comes back to New York where she confesses, just after Will proposes, that she slept with his roommate. She did it on purpose to break up with Will, saying that she is “letting him go” because she does not share his rather lofty aspirations. After Clinton is elected, Will opens a campaigning business with most of his work colleagues, which enjoys a good amount of success. Before Will left Wisconsin, Emily asked Will to deliver a package to her former roommate, Summer Hartley, who is living in New York City. Will first meets Summer when he gives her the package, a diary that she wrote when she was a teenager (which, among other things, tells of her brief affair with Emily). He finds she is going out with a famous writer who is old enough to be her father. The writer breaks up with Summer, and Will starts a relationship with her. April quits her job and leaves to travel around the world. When she returns, she plans to tell Will that she loves him, but discovers that he is planning to propose marriage to Summer. April reluctantly congratulates him instead. Summer writes a derogatory article about one of Will’s clients. Will cannot rationalize this conflict of interest, and he ends his relationship with Summer. As a result of the article, Will loses his business and his dream of a political career ends, with all of his friends abandoning him.

April calls after a long absence and finds that Will has a new job, but is lonely and unhappy, feelings further exacerbated when she reveals she has a new boyfriend named Kevin. She throws a birthday party for him, reuniting him with his old colleagues. Will becomes drunk and confesses romantic feelings for April, but he starts a fight with her when he judgmentally implies that she is wasting her life working in a book store. Some time later, Will passes a used book store and finds the copy of Jane Eyre that April has been seeking with the note from her father. Will goes to April’s apartment to give her the book, but he decides against it when he meets Kevin, who is now living with her. Emily moves to New York City, and she and Will rekindle their relationship after a run-in at a party of Summer’s they both were attending. Maya correctly guesses that “Emily” is her mother. Maya espouses that it is tragic that the story has a sad ending, but Will explains that the story has a happy ending: Maya.

Will learns that April is single again, and he attempts to give her the copy of Jane Eyre. When she discovers that he has been holding onto the book for years, she becomes upset and asks him to leave. Maya is happy to have figured out the story, but she realizes that her father still loves April: he changed the name of her mother, Sarah, to Emily in the story, and the name of Natasha to Summer, but he did not change April’s name. Maya makes Will realize that he really isn’t happy without April. On the spur of the moment they take a taxi to go meet April. April does not let them into her apartment. As they walk away, April runs out and asks about the story. Will confesses to April that he held on to the copy of Jane Eyre because it was the only thing he had left of her. April hugs Will and takes them in to hear the story. As Maya passes through the doorway, April rushes into Will’s arms and kisses him.

It’s bittersweet in many places, seeing how easy it is for life to get in the way of relationships, or for the timing to be wrong. It’s not cloying, or saccharine, and gives a real impression of just how complicated love can be – but also how enriching and life-affirming

REVIEW: NO STRINGS ATTACHED

CAST

Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men)
Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Kevin Kline (Dave)
Cary Elwes (The Alphabet Killer)
Greta Gerwig (Eden)
Lake Bell (In A World…)
Olivia Thirlby (Dredd)
Ludacris (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Jake Johnson (New Girl)
Mindy Kaling (This Is The End)
Ophelia Lovibond (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Ben Lawson (The Little Death)
Abby Elliott (How I Met Your Mother)
Nasim Pedrad (Scream Queens)
Matthew Moy (2 Broke Girls)

After first meeting at a summer camp as teenagers, Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher) run into each other a few times as young adults but never keep in touch. Emma becomes a doctor in Los Angeles, Adam a production assistant for a musical television show. Adam’s father Alvin (Kevin Kline), the well-known star of a former hit television comedy series, has begun a romance with Adam’s ex-girlfriend, Vanessa (Ophelia Lovibond). Adam finds out, gets drunk and calls the women in his phone seeking a hookup. The next morning, he wakes on a sofa wearing nothing but a small towel. It turns out that he texted Emma and then came to the apartment she shares with some other residents—Patrice (Greta Gerwig), Shira (Mindy Kaling), and Guy (Guy Branum). Once there, he took off all his clothes and then passed out. Emma leads Adam to her bedroom to retrieve his missing pants and they end up having sex.

The two have sex again at Adam’s house and before she leaves Adam agrees to her proposal for a casual relationship (as she puts it, using each other for sex and nothing else). Adam warns Emma about falling in love with him, but she dismisses the idea and sets ground rules to keep what they’re doing from becoming too serious. At first things go well, but Adam becomes jealous when Sam (Ben Lawson)—another resident—seeks her attention. Adam brings Emma a gift (a mix CD) and she rebuffs him, saying they should stop for a while and hook up with other people. But after being apart for two weeks Emma returns to Adam and they continue being sex friends only.

Adam’s birthday comes along a few months later. He goes out for dinner with Alvin and Vanessa, who announce their plan to have a baby together. Emma berates the other couple while defending Adam. He persuades her to go out together on Valentine’s Day. Things fall apart when she becomes too uncomfortable during the date. An angry Emma advises Adam that he should find someone else who won’t hurt him. Adam tells Emma that he loves her—something she’s not at all receptive to hearing—they have a fight, ending their arrangement.

Six weeks later, a script Adam wrote is being filmed. He gets a regular writing job on the show with the help of Lucy (Lake Bell), the show’s assistant director (Jennifer Irwin), who is clearly attracted to Adam. Meanwhile, Emma is depressed over not being with Adam. The situation is compounded and complicated by her younger sister Katie’s (Olivia Thirlby) wedding the next day and her widowed mother (Talia Balsam) arriving for the event with a male companion (Brian Dierker) of her own. Emma feels she is being strong for her mom by not letting herself get too close to anyone so she won’t become upset by seeing Emma get hurt if a relationship ends poorly. Emma’s mom tells her to stop.

When Emma confesses that she can’t stop thinking about Adam, Katie insists that she call him to put things right. A nervous Emma phones Adam and tells she misses him. He responds that they were never really together. Realizing that she needs to speak with him in person, Emma leaves Santa Barbara where the wedding is taking place and drives to Adam’s house. Her plans are ruined – and she has to hide to avoid being seen—when he arrives home with Lucy. Emma assumes Adam has a new girlfriend and tearfully drives away. Vanessa calls Adam before he and Lucy can have sex—Alvin has overdosed on a cough syrup-based drink called “Purple drank”. Meeting Adam outside the hospital, Vanessa says that she is ending her relationship with Alvin and leaves for a party. Adam goes in to visit Alvin who surprisingly gives him some tender advice about falling in love.

Shira tells Emma about Adam’s dad being admitted to the hospital. As Adam leaves the building he calls Emma and tells her that she must be present if she is going to say that she misses him. Emma gets out of her car as the call ends and Adam is stunned to suddenly find her there. She tells Adam that she is sorry she hurt him and confesses that she really loves and cares about him and they reconcile. After eating breakfast together the next morning—something that never happened before—they arrive in Santa Barbara just before Katie’s wedding is starting. As they enter a room and pause Emma asks Adam what will happen next, and with a smile on his lips he silently intertwines her hand with his—for the first time they are holding hands together as a couple.

The end credits show an epilogue in which Alvin and Lucy are in a relationship, and are in a restaurant waiting for Adam to arrive to tell him. Adam’s roommate (Jake Johnson) and Patrice are in a relationship and are shown meeting his two dads. Vanessa had told Adam that old people scare her and she is ridden with anxiety when she is trapped in an elevator full of senior citizens. Adam and Emma are seen kissing in the park. Sam and Shira are in a relationship, but he wants his freedom and isn’t pleased when she reveals that she’s already been seeing other men. Katie is having a baby and Emma is the delivering doctor. Guy lures a nervous-looking Sam into a hospital room. At last, Adam and Emma are shown peacefully sleeping together.

Good film with a good cast. Surprisingly it’s the secondary actors that shine here. It’s not an Oscar winner but for simple entertainment you can do worse.