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(Review originally written at 24 January 2007)

No big secret that I'm not a person who normally enjoy watching a romantic comedy. It's a genre of; once you have seen one movie you have seen them all. Most movies are the same, with cliché, over-the-top and sappy romantic and dramatic situations that are all far from believable. "The American President" however always has been a movie that I enjoy watching. The mixture of politics and romance works well and the movie is definitely carried to great heights by its impressive cast.

Making a love-story involve around the president of the United States already is of course an original and refreshing approach on the genre. It's all the movie refreshing since the two main characters are supposedly in the late 40's/early 50's or perhaps even older. No youngsters who have their entire life ahead of them, who meet the love of their life. This are people who've had a long life and career behind them and have different priorities in life. It's refreshing and also quite daring that a movie in a genre like this picks that approach but it works out very well, which is mainly due to the acting of the two principal actors and the supporting cast. The surreal environment and characters, provide some good comical moments at all. It's not easy doing simple things such as ordering flowers by phone or getting a serious date when you're the President of the United States of America.

In fact, the story really isn't that special, although it's still solid written, with some good dialog. The movie is more romantic than comical probably and the movie also isn't the deepest going movie around. Still the characters are given depth and are being fleshed out perfectly by the actors.

Michael Douglas and Annette Bening are very convincing together as two persons who are falling in love, in an almost surrealistic environment. They share some great on screen chemistry and their acting is truly great and yes, Michael Douglas is convincing as the President and he handles the more comical like situations also very well. It makes the love story between work out beautifully. They're also being supported by a fine supporting cast, including actors such as Martin Sheen, Michael J. Fox (though he seems a bit out of place in his role), David Paymer, Richard Dreyfuss (who stays a bit too underused) and John Mahoney.

The movie does a very good job at portraying how personal life and politics always get mix up and milked out by the press and opposing parties. The movie shows how ridicules and completely uncalled for that all actually is. It's like people with political agendas can't have a personal life without it being covered and discussed by the general public. It shows the influence and power of media in this world of television, radio and newspapers and how it can influence your opinion regarding a certain subject or person, you don't even know in real life. The movie makes its point well, without ever getting preachy or too moralistic about things. Kudos to the writer Aaron Sorkin (also the creator and writer of "The West Wing") and director Rob Reiner, who always keep the balance between the different subjects, regarding politics and love, right. It makes the movie work out powerful and effective, as well as heartwarming.

The movie is good looking and has good production values. The cinematography by John Seale makes the movie look warm and the musical score by Marc Shaiman makes the movie powerful.

I wish Rob Reiner made more movies like this.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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