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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Robin Williams for President?

    Robin Williams for President?

    Rather than thinking about the possibilities of a John McCain and Hillary Clinton showdown, there are many fans devoted to the possibility of a Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert ticket in 2008. While it may seem unlikely in the real world, “”Man of the Year”” plays with the possibilities of what could happen if a comedian took office.

    Tom Dobbs (Robin Williams) is the host of a comedic talk show similar to “”The Daily Show.”” One day at the taping of the show, a fan from the audience asks him to put his money where his mouth is and run for president. As someone who has long attacked the problems with the government, Dobbs decides to put some serious thought into the idea. Rather than just complaining about a flawed system, he realizes he could actually do something to change it.

    ‘Man of the Year’
    PG-13
    115 minutes
    Universal Pictures

    Dobbs comes off a presidential debate in top form, after ripping apart the other two candidates, whom you can barely tell apart. This debate manages to put him over the edge, and for the first time, a comedian becomes the new president-elect. At least that’s what everyone thinks.

    Eleanor Greene (Laura Linney), who worked at the computer company that designed the new ballots, finds out that there was a computer glitch and Dobbs isn’t the real winner. With this information, Dobbs has the choice of whether to stay president and try to make his changes for the country or come forward with the news.

    Robin Williams is in top form here. When he’s allowed to run lose, he shines with comedic wit that’s comparable to what he can do in his stand-up routines. He talks so quickly that he barely has time to breathe, gesticulates wildly and does all sorts of imitations in different voices.

    The problem here is that Robin Williams is so constrained in what he actually can do. He’s barely given time for his funny one-liners.

    Despite what the marketing will have you believe, “”Man of the Year”” is not so much a comedy as it is a commentary about the power of TV. If written differently, it could have been a lighthearted farce; instead it gets bogged down in criticizing the way the government is run. The heavy parts start to dominate, and Williams’ humor gets pushed aside in order to further the plot.

    Instead of seeing how much influence comedic talk shows have on the way people see news, writer Barry Levinson chooses to completely miss the point. “”Man of the Year”” comes off bitter at the success of these shows, rather than being glad of the fact that the people are at least getting news.

    Rather than believe in its strengths, he makes the mistake of thinking that a comedian becoming president could be such an impossible feat. That’s what makes the film so unbelievable.

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