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Guarding Tess

4.6 out of 5 stars 269 customer reviews

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(Apr 07, 1998)
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Editorial Reviews

What do you do with a former First Lady who's unpredictable, ornery and impossible to please? Anything she wants! Shirley MacLaine and Nicolas Cage star in this comic, compassionate look at life after the White House for two former Washington insiders: First Lady Tess Carlisle and Secret Service agent Doug Chesnic. As uproarious as it is uplifting, GUARDING TESS is "a grand mixture of laughter and tears." Gary Franklin, KCOP-TV

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Nicolas Cage, Austin Pendleton, Edward Albert, Richard Griffiths, Shirley MacLaine
  • Directors: Hugh Wilson
  • Producers: Ned Tanen, Nancy Tanen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Full Screen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 7, 1998
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (269 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 076780676X
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,379 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Guarding Tess" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Doug DeBolt on April 15, 2002
Format: DVD
When "Guarding Tess" was released eight years ago, I ended up watching it in the theater because I was bored and because it looked a little more promising than the rest of the pack. That thought proved to be an understatement. To date, I have seen this movie at least eight times, and I tend to enjoy it more with each viewing. Nicholas Cage is perfect as the disgruntled Secret Service agent who feels he has been banished to his current duty -- namely, doting on a cantankerous former First Lady, played to the hilt by Shirley MacLaine. "Guarding Tess" is alternately funny and moving, and even includes a bit of a mystery for Cage to solve. Far more than a one-dimensional film, "Guarding Tess" is satisfying for so many reasons -- the witty script, the fine performances, the deft direction, and the mostly even pacing, to name a few. While you can catch this on a regular basis on TBS (which has made the movie one of its most reliable staples), "Guarding Tess" is definitely worth owning for more frequent viewing.
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Format: DVD
This is the first time that I thought a movie was not worth seeing and waited until it hit a premium movie channel. This time I will admit I made a mistake. This movie was fun to watch. It is well written and the interactions of the two main actors show a great chemistry.

Nicolas Cage plays the Special Agent in Charge of the Secret Service detail guarding a former First Lady. The First Lady is played well my Shirley MacLaine. The agent feels he is wasted in such a detail and wants desperately to get back on detail to the White House...and the First Lady wants him to stay. The two seem to thrive on confrontation with each other. She does her best to break every procedure the Secret Service is supposed to follow.

If you pay attention in the movie you will see why the First Lady actually loves the agent so much and wants him with her. And I think the picture shows us a very accurate relationship that occurs between agent and his protectee. Though it could be seen as a comedy; there is a just enough drama and a mystery which Cage character solves. A very well directed with perfect pace and timing. I look forward to buying it and watching it again.
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Format: DVD
"Guarding Tess" opens with a dapper and cheery Doug Chesnick (Nicholas Cage) fleeing a three-year stint as Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service, during which he was responsible for guarding a recently-widowed former First Lady (Shirley MacLaine) in her mansion in rural Ohio.
It's not only ditching the rusticity that puts a spring in Chesnick's step, but the opportunity to flee his employer, the authoritarian, aristocratic former First Lady, who has zeroed in on Chesnick while largely ignoring the rest of her staff. Her specialty, one quickly learns, is what the armed forces call the "psy-op" or, more simply, psychological warfare.
It is part of Tess Carlisle's modus operandi to let Chesnick believe that he is finally free, and waste to his time reporting to Washington for a new assignment. Chesnick yearns to join the elite who guard the President. Instead, in D.C., Chesnick is told that Carlisle already has called the President to request that Chesnick be reassigned to another three-year "tour", a tour of a truly martial sort.
The current President was the late President Carlisle's Veep, which permits Tess to continue to brusquely address him as the underling he always was to her. Tess's wish is the new President's command, not least because it was her private say that got him the winning Carlisle ticket.
In a fury, Chesnick is forced to return to Ohio. A kind of dance of death begins as Tess tries to break the spirit of the Special Agent in Charge, a title she cannot resist deconstructing, while Chesnick's fury mounts and he becomes all the more fanatical about adhering to the strictest (and most deadening) regulations of the Secret Service.
Read more ›
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Format: VHS Tape
I really can't even remember what it was that I expected when I first saw ads for Guarding Tess. I definitely remember that it wasn't much. This film has so much heart and character that its impossible to resist.
Shirley McLaine (Tess Carlisle) is the former first lady of a now deceased president. Nicholas Cage (Doug Chesnik) is the head secret service agent assigned to 'guard' the former first lady. Tess is a rather crochety seemingly self absorbed old girl and agent Chesnik is a by the book G-man.
While Tess does her level best to break all the rules and drive Doug crazy, Doug yearns to be on a 'real' assignment. He hates the non structured nature of guarding someone like Tess.
What each of them realizes along the way is how much they care for one another and how much they bring to the others life.
And along the way we are introduced to an ecclectic group of characters who will endear themselves to your heart and have you chuckling at many of their antics.
You'll laugh, cry and feel for all the characters in this gem of a film.
So why only 4 stars then. Because despite its genuine warmth and humor I found the story to be a bit contrived and somewhat unbelievable.
All that notwithstanding it shouldn't be missed.
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