Election (*** Ĺ) - Occasionally a movie comes along that makes me feel like Rip Torn in Defending Your Life. Thatís the movie where he works in a pseudo-purgatory and tells Albert Brooks that humans use only 3-5% of their brains. Iím not trying to sound snobby or superior but there are those movies where I find myself laughing louder than anyone else in the theater - primarily because Iím the only one laughing.That was the experience during Election, one of the best films Iíve seen in an admittedly weak early year. And this laughing I was doing was not because of broad physical humor nor the quote-worthy one-liners that I loved so much in Analyze This, itís the kind of humor that exists when a writer finds the truth in comedy. Whatís also so great about this movie is that it deals with several different characters and you find yourself at times loathing them and the next minute sympathizing and every performance is perfect, particularly the two leads of Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon in conveying those emotions. Witherspoonís is especially effective and itíd be nice to see remembered next February when the Oscar nominations are coming out. Election is exactly the kind of film that last yearís extremely overrated Rushmore wanted to be and deals with many of the same issues. Thereís an overachieving high school student, probably too brainy for their own good. There are affairs with teachers and a bitter rivalry between the brainiac and one of her elders whom they at one time respected. We also understand why all the characters behave like they do. We may not agree but realize their motivations for every one of their actions. How rare is that in movies these days? Yet itís not a film with big deep belly laughs like a Thereís Something About Mary or even Analyze This (the only other film this year to receive a rating from me as high as 3 Ĺ Stars) but itís a film with the kind of genuine big laughs that come from recognizing many of the situations in the film.I, myself, was involved in four different school elections (winning twice) and I so welcomed the speech by the jockís sister about the election process itself. It was terrific and so is the whole movie. The jock may be a little too affable for his own good but I granted the film that. This is one of the best films Iíve seen all year even if I was laughing the loudest.