Romantic, funny and loaded with smart Aaron Sorkin dialogue, 1995's THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT is a heartfelt, enjoyable comedy pretending to be a political thriller.
Michael Douglas is President Andrew Shepherd, nearing the end of his first term as a very popular Commander In Chief.
All that comes to a screeching halt when he meets Climate Change lobbyist Sydney Ellen Wade (a perfect Annette Bening). Having been a widower for his entire first term, a date with Sydney fires up the press and the most conservative wing of his competition.
His staff goes into overdrive. And what a staff it is. Martin Sheen is best friend and chief-of-staff AJ, Michael J. Fox is a volatile speech writer and Dayid Paymer (City Slickers) is a chatty analyst.
It's a cavalcade of great actors, adept at spilling Sorkin's smart, rapid fire dialogue that will conjure up more than a few great memories of "The West Wing".
Douglas is excellent as Sheperd, just the right mix of leader, Dad to a teenager and nervous guy who's forgotten how to date. Douglas has always been a great actor at blending comedy into a performance and he delivers some great laughs here along with the drama.
Bening matches him.
One of Rob Reiner's best films and remember this Meathead delivered "A Few Good Men". "When Harry Met Sally" and "Misery".
Whatever your political leanings, you'll enjoy the sparring between staunch conservative Senator Rumson (a fiery Richard Dreyfuss) and Shepherd.
The state dinner with the President of France and Wade's reaction the first time the President calls her are classic moments.
President Clinton gave the filmmakers several days of visits for production design and it shows, every corner of this White House feels authentic.
Mark Shaiman's music score (Hairspray, South Park) is excellent and has been stolen for many trailers in the two decades since.
A throwback to a time when even combative politics were much more civil than they are today, THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT is a fast moving winner that gets a B.