Payne uses a high school student council election to skewer the American political system in general and the election process in particular. Smart comedy has wildly ambitious Tracy (Witherspoon) running for council president unopposed until dedicated but flawed civics teacher Mr. McAllister (Broderick) decides she must be stopped. He recruits likeable but dim jock Paul (Klein) to run against her. Then Paul's lesbian (and anarchic) sister Tammy (Campbell) joins the race. As in Payne's previous effort, "Citizen Ruth," no side of the political spectrum is spared. Everyone's foibles and hypocrisy are shown, to great effect. Witherspoon gives an energized performance, while Broderick is excellent as the respected, conflicted mentor with a touch of Bueller in him.
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Available on VHS, DVD
Running time 105 minutes.
Ind. Spirit 2000: Director (Payne), Film, Screenplay; N.Y. Film Critics 1999: Screenplay; Natl. Soc. Film Critics 1999: Actress (Witherspoon); Writers Guild 1999: Adapt. Screenplay.
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