Man of the Year
starring Robin Williams, Christopher Walken, Laura Linney, Lewis Black, and Jeff Goldblum
written and directed by Barry Levinson
You wouldn’t believe how long I had to wait to be able to rent this on DVD. A long time. When I rent a DVD I return it the very next day. I watch it. I return it. It’s that simple. That’s normal, isn’t it? Keeping DVDs and videos out for a week or more and then paying hundreds of dollars/yen in overdue charges (which I have seen with my own eyes here) is unreasonable and probably immoral. Maybe the thing of it is that it is possible for video shop customers to reserve a video or DVD before it comes into the shop and that is the real reason why I waited over a month to see this particular one. Or, maybe not. Filmed partly in Toronto.
Robin Williams plays popular comedian Tom Dobbs who runs for U.S. President on a lark and wins. Why does he win? It’s a matter of Electoral College votes more than the popular will, but what does it mean? We want it to be the result of public disaffection with the usual cookie-cutter American political candidates, an expression of anger at the corruption and pettiness of official Washington. We want it to be payback for the burden of stupid politicians. We want it to be the result of a public being able to hear Dobbs just because he sounds different. We want it to be many things that we feel in ourselves because we want movies to be a proxy environment for Reality to play out differently than it really is. Sadly, it turns out to be the result of a mundane phenomenon - a computer glitch in the vote recording system used nation-wide - a glitch which the corporate executives knew about but did not address for selfish monetary reasons.
This film came out in America in a presidential election year. That’s funny in itself. I was disappointed, though. It was not as funny as I hoped it would be. It could have been funnier, and it should have been.