Joe Klein's anonymously published political satire is adapted for the big screen, starting off humorously and shifting into somber. Southern good ole boy, Gov. Jack Stanton (Travolta), and his savvy wife (Thompson) are after the presidential nomination and surrounded by crazy associates, including skeptical first-time campaign manager Henry Burton (Lester). More about Henry's political baptism by fire than anything else, as he tries to accommodate his conscience to the continuous scandals and double-dealing. It really doesn't matter whether Travolta's channeling Clinton or if Thompson acts like Hilary, since the film has bigger problems. The change in tone is jarring, characters and situations disappear without warning. And given that the press act like salivating wolverines at the merest hint of scandal, the situation surrounding opponent Fred Picker (Hagman) seems far-fetched at best. Still the goings-on will hold your attention until they're over--and you realize it's all smoke-and-mirrors.
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Available on VHS, DVD
Running time 138 minutes.
British Acad. 1998: Adapt. Screenplay; Screen Actors Guild 1998: Support. Actress (Bates); Broadcast Film Critics 1998: Support. Actress (Bates).
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