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Overall Rating
4.54

Awesome58.76%
Worth A Look: 38.14%
Average: 2.06%
Pretty Bad: 0.52%
Total Crap: 0.52%

18 reviews, 86 user ratings


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Election (1999)
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by Paulapalooza

"Let’s just say it’s a damn sight better than JOE’S APARTMENT"
5 stars

MTV Productions/Films/Whatever has, without a doubt, among the worst production slates of any of the little “boutique” studios that spring up like crabgrass through the Hollywood blacktop. That’s why it was such a surprise when this little insightful and wicked gem popped its head out of the whorish birth canal that spawned such stillborn chlamydia-dust as DEAD MAN ON CAMPUS.

ELECTION is a film about the little lies we tell ourselves and the falsehoods we believe in order to make it through our days, filtered through the all-too-familiar lens of school student council elections. Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick) is a popular civics teacher who’s good at his job, yet is trapped in a sterile marriage. As student council advisor he’s well-acquainted with Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon), a preternaturally able junior who runs nearly every club in school based on the virtue of, well, that’s what she’s probably done since kindergarten. McAllister has some personal problems with Tracy, so he convinces the affably dimwitted football star Paul Metzler (Chris Klein) to run against her for student council president. Tracy, who’s seemingly had to work very little for her success and feels owed the student council presidency, is livid with McAllister, and even more so when Paul’s adopted lesbian sister Tammy (Jessica Campbell) decides to run as well to spite everyone. It all goes to hell from there.

Broderick has never had this juicy a part to hide in before, and both instantly counterpoints Ferris Bueller and makes us forget him. Jim McAllister is a nice yet dull guy whose desire for some spice in his life is answered all-too horribly. Reese Witherspoon, normally as bland as Midwestern pork products, adds real zest as the consumed yet naïve Tracy, proof that a strong director like Alexander Payne can coach a good performance even out of people I’d consider non-actors. Speaking of non-actors, this is Chris Klein’s first film role. Klein has essentially played the same “dumb but good” role ever since, but since viewers didn’t know that going in, he limns the part nicely.

Broderick, Witherspoon, and Klein are fantastic, but the real architects here are Payne and screenwriter Jim Taylor. They show real restraint and timing in their execution of this morally complex tale, intersecting and re-weaving themes, leitmotifs and imagery, and obviously having one hell of a time while doing it. The fact that a film this well-paced came from MTV will probably keep scientists busier for longer than on that damned superstring theory or the human genome project. By the time McAllister receives a sharp bee sting to the eye as a Biblically-appropriate stripe for his lechery and lust, it’s obvious that this movie is working on a completely different level of anti-social commentary, one that wasn’t matched again until FIGHT CLUB.

What really makes this film work is its tackling of difficult truths in a lively and comedic manner utilizing characters who are utterly familiar and complex in their simplicity. Tracy’s struggle for acceptance and validation, McAllister’s cowing to sexual demons followed by his internal justification of his own actions and his ultimate act of revenge, Paul’s misunderstanding and blissfulness toward complex issues, and Tammy’s notion that whatever female lover she takes is “The One” are issues and peccadilloes we pick aprt in other people yet are quick to deny in ourselves. Fact is, we all got ‘em, and they’re not going away, especially since they’re too painful to admit to. Just like real student council elections, our own frailties clutter up our lives with inevitable uselessness. Nobody is “right” or “wrong” in this movie, they’re just a collection of neuroses, biases, and justifications.

Topping all this off like a diamond balanced on a $1,000 hooker’s ass is a biting, wicked, and black sense of humor. There are belly laughs, meanspirited guffaws, and painful "I didn’t really see that, did I?” chuckles. We’ve known Jim McAllisters and disliked Tracy Flicks all our lives, and when they collide it’s the funniest train wreck you’re likely to see this or any season.

Then again, SISQO’S SHAKEDOWN was one goddamn funny train wreck, compounded daily.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=438&reviewer=21
originally posted: 03/16/01 12:58:42
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User Comments

3/30/17 Blake Patterson Alexander Payne wrote Election with furious hilarity and dark passion. 5 stars
4/26/16 Ken Pretty funny. Matthew Broderick was great in this film. 4 stars
5/22/15 David Hollingsworth A savagely funny satire that hits like darts 5 stars
11/22/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome Story! 5 stars
9/04/07 Alan "Slap, then screw" -- is that how you relate to the female sex? 5 stars
10/03/06 Rob It should be said that the wardrobes and 'makeup' in this movie are subtly awesome. 4 stars
9/19/06 MP Bartley Genuinely brilliant. Witherspoon and Broderick are outstanding. 5 stars
2/26/06 Clubber Lang Watchable, but never really engaging. Too many characters, needed more focus. 3 stars
9/07/05 ALDO chris klein is perfect 4 stars
5/26/05 Jake Hilarious! 5 stars
3/25/05 indrid cold Surprisingly good, almost bizarrely good. 5 stars
12/07/03 Samuel A very funny film!! 4 stars
11/27/03 he a great film 5 stars
11/24/03 E. Best line "her pussy gets so wet" 5 stars
11/06/03 M. Suvajac an extraordinary film 5 stars
10/25/03 Al Baston Broderick clothes (those shirts & ties) are perfect for the fat ass dufess he plays. 5 stars
9/25/03 ILLEGALLY BLONDE The only time Reese Witherspoon ever shined; too bad it's in an overall groaner 3 stars
7/27/03 robert buizer great laugh 5 stars
4/04/03 Jack Sommersby Smart and hilariously human. Broderick and Witherspoon are outstanding. 4 stars
12/09/02 Kyle One of the greatest films I've ever seen. I don't say that lightly. 5 stars
11/03/02 Steve Kaczynski One of the last US films of the 20th century that I would call great.. 5 stars
10/17/02 Charles Tatum This sucks as bad as "Rushmore" 1 stars
8/25/02 movie guy great 5 stars
6/12/02 Millie Maelstrom Better, Kakararaniniginjia (though I was hoping for some groovy role for those enzymes!) 3 stars
5/15/02 Kakararaniniginjia Sinitraviwasanjofraz Fails urgent need of good support cast around brilliance of Reese Witherspoon's zany dliver 3 stars
3/08/02 Mo Anand A very funny movie...Matthew was better in "ferris bueller"...but still good 4 stars
3/06/02 Veronica Foxx -The Raven-Haired Temptress ELECTION deserves more credit and attention than it has received. Too bad really, good film 4 stars
3/02/02 Unagiboy Pick Flick! Witherspoon was brilliant. I loved the tribal chant music in her mind. 5 stars
2/26/02 Obi Wan Great Movie...MTv should make more flicks like this!! Instead of their PC garbage!! 5 stars
2/03/02 Allison Lafferty Reese Witherspoon's best movie (not saying much). She must really be that silly. 2 stars
1/23/02 John Wilner Note that Tracy signs her name with a star over the i in Flick. Rich detail throughout! 5 stars
11/16/01 John This deserved at least one Oscar 5 stars
11/13/01 Jake Not too shabby. 4 stars
11/03/01 Andrew Carden This Movie Was So Funny and Reese Was The Greatest Thing Ever! 5 stars
10/30/01 Gary Witty, subtle, well written and Reese Witherspoon is a star in the making. 5 stars
9/05/01 Butterbean Ferris Bueller's principal is avenged. Definantly an awesome flick! Reese rocked! 5 stars
8/07/01 E-Funk Insanely original. Broderick's best since Ferris Bueller. I loved it. 5 stars
7/24/01 bobbuttons This movie is so great. "Fuck me, Mr. M. Fuck me now" is the greatest line. 5 stars
6/10/01 Serial_Monk_the_Jawbreaker Great characters. Not too funny, but if this movie's trying to be evil, it succeeds 4 stars
5/31/01 BrainPan Yes, yes, ya'll! Me rikee!! 5 stars
4/09/01 Gary I saw it for the first time last night, and I loved it. Great flick! 5 stars
4/08/01 Will Y. it takes time to understand a lot of the underlying meaning about sexuality, but it's great 4 stars
2/06/01 Trashstar Witty, sharp, dark and very very funny. Reese shines as does Matthew. 5 stars
10/16/00 Dimmer Itch Reese proves she's better at any Sandras, Camerons or Heathers at comic acting. Fantastic. 4 stars
10/09/00 BirdBrain Very funny, if you pay attention to it. So if you're a dumbass Armageddon fan, stay away. 4 stars
7/13/00 Tom Wonderful dark comedy. Vote for Tracy Flick!!!!! 5 stars
7/06/00 Matthew Bartley Very different and funny.Reese is great 4 stars
6/26/00 stranded on the Island Best comedy I've seen in a long time; reese and matthew are perfect! 5 stars
6/02/00 Add A very good movie with some outstanding performances but just not as funny as i'd of liked. 4 stars
5/08/00 Stan Mador BEST MOVIE IVE SEEN! 5 stars
4/29/00 The Bomb 69 to intelligent for most people and that's unfortunate, great movie!!! 5 stars
4/25/00 Brian Engen The special effects were awesome!! 5 stars
2/21/00 arnold extremely funny 5 stars
2/14/00 Germanicus Good acting, a few funny bits, nice story and snappy editing but infinitely overrated. 4 stars
2/06/00 Kyle Broflovski A teenage girl in pursuit of something besides Prom Prince Charming?? PINCH ME!!! :-) 5 stars
1/26/00 Joel Harwood WHAT A FILM 5 stars
1/18/00 bullit17 Clever. Funny. Thought-provoking. Sure to remind you of high school and some kids you knew 4 stars
1/17/00 Will not to be too wordy, but all I have to say is "cool". 4 stars
11/29/99 Mic Sharp and hilarious - shows Drop Dead Gorgeous how it should be done 5 stars
11/08/99 Mark Linkson Broderick finally acts his age, Witherspoon excellent as usual, a very clever satire 4 stars
10/18/99 Tfer One of the best this year! 5 stars
8/23/99 Michael Grimm too well written for most retards watching movies nowadays, anyone with a brain loves it 5 stars
8/02/99 Jeff Hilarious and intelligent. Great acting. A should-be Best Picture nominee 5 stars
7/28/99 David Gilmour Definitely the best film of the Year, SO Far;7/99 5 stars
7/09/99 bridgette awesome. 5 stars
7/08/99 Ann Great! It's about time someone exposed the truths behind a 'little miss perfect' 5 stars
6/30/99 PhilmPhreak A welcome break from weak-ass summer flicks. 5 stars
6/29/99 Dave Rad as 5 stars
6/24/99 Tim best movie i've seen this year 5 stars
6/19/99 Michael Lewis Best film I,ve seen this year. Intelegent, well written and funny! 5 stars
6/15/99 David Really funny, and probably like nothing you've seen before, not even Rushmore. 5 stars
6/05/99 Lisa Sick and wrong on so many levels--I loved it! 5 stars
6/04/99 Mel I haven't felt this guilty laughing at a movie in a long time.... 5 stars
6/04/99 The Graduate A hilarous movie, heavy on the cruelty. Sometimes those perfectionist have to pay. 5 stars
5/28/99 pipeman If you like your humor dark, you'll love this. Great flick! 5 stars
5/26/99 GothamDK Got to be a little jaded. Type A students won't get it. Heathers is still better. 4 stars
5/25/99 Freyja Smart and FUNNY! 5 stars
5/23/99 bridgette loved it! i usually am not a reese fan, but she was great. 5 stars
5/21/99 Bob, Lord of Evil I won't say fuck Star Wars, but I'd rather see this a third time over that one... 5 stars
5/18/99 David K Fuck Star Wars 5 stars
5/11/99 Malbert It was great 5 stars
5/10/99 Katie Definately a great one, love the dark humor. 5 stars
5/08/99 BraveFan Richly satisfying - witty and engaging - saw it twice 5 stars
4/26/99 kam it'was ok 4 stars
4/26/99 Mr Showbiz A feralessly dark and funny adult comedy. 5 stars
4/12/99 the DUDE Matthew Brodrick is great-Fucking funny 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  23-Apr-1999 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  07-Oct-1999 (M)




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