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Overall Rating
3.38

Awesome: 7.69%
Worth A Look46.15%
Average: 26.92%
Pretty Bad: 15.38%
Total Crap: 3.85%

5 reviews, 22 user ratings


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Primary Colors
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by Ryan Arthur

"You can call me the 'Dust Buster.' I'm stronger than dirt."
4 stars

An unfortunatey overlooked gem of a movie that got trounced by the real thing.

As much as Wag The Dog was oddly prophetic to the Clinton presidency, this movie makes no bones about the obvious comparisons. The novel in which it was based on (written by former Newsweek writer Joe Klein, as "Anonymous") was a thinly veiled account of the Clinton campaign. It didn't do as well as it should have at the box office, possibly because of the burnout involving the public and the presidency. That's too bad. This is a pretty decent flick.

John Travolta plays Governor Jack Stanton, a Clinton look- and sound-alike. He's got the mannerisms, the voice, even the gut down. Stanton, like Clinton, has a taste for excesses: fast food. Grease. And, for good or ill, women. Sometimes bimbos (such as Gia Caredes, playing the unfortunately named Cashmere McLeod), sometimes just ordinary women, like the head of ann inner city literacy program (Allison Janney). Stanton is surrounded by his team: Hillary-inspired wife Susan (Emma Thompson), who suffers as much as anyone from Stanton's lack of focus; Carville-inspired strategist Richard Jemmons (Billy Bob Thornton); Libby Holden (Kathy Bates, going all out), responsible for digging up dirt on the Stantons and their opponents before anyone else does, and Henry Burton (Adrian Lester), the newest member of the team (perhaps unwittingly so) who is actualy more of the focus of the film. Through Henry, we see the circle of characters, we see the workings of the campaign. Not all of the scenes focus on Stanton (although some of the best ones, such as a scene where he sits in a Krispy Kreme, talking to a working man, do), and this is good, because he's a character that the audience can and will get sick of if they see him too frequently. It's the supporting cast, thw Bates' and the Thompsons', that make this movie better than average.

My chief complaint comes with the casting of Adrian Lester as Henry. He's just too passive. The rest of the cast picks up the slack, with Bates shouldering most of it. It's not enough to derail the film completely, but just enough where I didn't like seeing him on screen.

Don't go expecting a Travolta movie. It's not. It's definitely more of an ensemble film. It's good, though.

I had to see it because Maura Tierney's in it. I'm glad I did. A solid flick.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=131&reviewer=7
originally posted: 01/26/99 05:04:08
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User Comments

9/23/10 PAUL SHORTT DYNAMIC, ENTERTAINING AND SMART 4 stars
4/22/08 Jack Sommersby Toothless, shapeless, and very disappointing. 2 stars
10/25/06 David Pollastrini a bit slow 2 stars
2/21/06 Agent Sands A truly awesome piece of filmmaking. 5 stars
4/26/03 Shadaan Felfeli Any film with Emma Thompson is worth watching ! 3 stars
9/29/02 Fantom of the Slobberer Emma T wasted, BBT his usual overkill, John Revolting and Catheter Baits putrid as usual. 1 stars
5/22/02 Sheila Evans John Travolta and Kathy Bates together - should've been worse than this! 1 stars
2/07/02 Phil M. Afficianado Entertaining in places but very forgettable formula movie 3 stars
1/06/02 Andrew Carden Travolta As President? It Sounds Horrible, but It Isn't Total Crap. 3 stars
1/05/02 Butterbean Travolta impressed me as he pulled off a great "Clinton". 4 stars
5/06/01 Hawkeye A great political flim; does a great job of capturing the Clinton road to the whitehouse. 4 stars
11/06/00 Green Unique insights + great acting, but Maura Tierney was ill-defined. Yet she's so talented 4 stars
10/22/00 P. Rodriguez great viewing never gets too overdramatic, nor a staid drama. Good Stuff! 5 stars
5/15/00 Bender Highly overlong, but some great performaces. 3 stars
2/06/00 Kyle Broflovski Harrowingly truthful political almost-satire. 5 stars
10/30/99 Bozo great Bates & Lester; better when Travolta is off the screen; pretty funny too 4 stars
12/20/98 Johny Not a Travolta film, I repeat NOT a Travolta film 3 stars
12/08/98 Lord Of The Dunce Unbelievably well timed, but that don't make it great. 3 stars
9/19/98 Badass Billy Bob and Kathy are great, as is the movie 5 stars
9/17/98 Ben Affleck Pretty good!! I agree with the film that Mr.Prez isn't such a bad guy. 4 stars
8/29/98 Mister Whoopee i guess when they made it they didn't know it would already be so overdone. 3 stars
8/15/98 {{{OZ}}} A really boring story done very well. But why? 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  20-Mar-1998 (R)
  DVD: 28-Dec-2004

UK
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Australia
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