My Fellow Americans
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They used to run the country. Now they're running for their lives! Hail to the comedy chiefs! Jack Lemmon and James Garner win a landslide of laughs as two on-the-lam former presidents of the United States. Framed in a scandal by the current president (Dan Aykroyd) and pursued by armed agents, the two squabbling political foes plunge into a desperate and delightfully frantic search for the evidence that will establish their innocence. As they scramble through the real America, they get an unexpected crash course in how their policies affected the citizens. With the three leads in waggish form, spirited direction by Peter Segal (Tommy Boy, Naked Gun 331/3) and snappy support from costars John Heard, Wilford Brimley, Lauren Bacall and more, My Fellow Americans convinces all that comedy is king (and president!).]]>
Top Customer Reviews
They play the roles of two ex-presidents, living out their retirements in their respective ways: grubbing every dollar to be had on the lecture circuit (Lemmon), or grabbing every babe to be had (Garner). Dan Aykroyd, improbably cast as the current president, detects a scandal brewing and tries to nail it to the previous administration. Garner and Lemmon, one-time political opponents, are thrown together and the chase begins.
The comedy comes largely from the series of cheap shots and snide recollections the two hurl at each other. The feel-good part comes from their bonding over shared experiences as past presidents, under the pressure of pursuit. The political thriller builds as the hired guns keep trying to assassinate the ex-pres, and to bury the scandal with him. As long as you're not looking for any great subtlety, it works.
It's a bit goofy, but it's a good, safe comedy with just enough plot twists to keep it from becoming completely predictable. It couldn't have worked without Garner and Lemmon in the lead roles, though - their experience in such roles is what made the movie work.
The excellent comedic writing is apparent ("There are only two watches like that in the world, Reagan has one and now Shamu the Killer Hick has the other!"), and Heard's underrated performance as Vice President Ted Matthews nearly steals the show. (For those that have seen it, tell me his last line shouldn't be ranked up there with other classic lines!) As usual, Lauren Bacall is magnificent ("Don't say friggin', if you're going to use the F word go for the gold"), and of course Jack Lemmon and James Garner turn in great performances.
The great cast, writing, and script idea all fold together to make one of the best movies ever made.
Three more years have passed. Kraemer is now making paid public appearances and writing books on any subject. Douglas has more noble goals, nailing every babe he can. Then a scandal is about to break out and Douglas and Kramer find out. Since he can no longer shift blame to Kramer, Haney decides to kill the former Presidents.
The plot fails but leaves the Presidents stranded. They must find the proof that Haney is guilty and get back to DC alive. This starts a cross country chase that is constantly funny including the Presidents becoming involved in a gay pride parade - that saves their life!
I have to guess that this was originally conceived as a Lemmon Matthau film but was too physical for the declining Matthau. It actually works better with Garner as he is more believable as the Clintonesque womanizer.
Lauren Bacall is great as Mrs. Kramer but only has a couple of scenes. Marg Helgenberger (pre CSI) makes an appearance as Douglas' book editor. And Bradley Whitford makes a White House appearance two years before he took up residence with the Bartlett administration in The West Wing.
It's too bad that Lemmon died before he could reteam with Garner. They made a great pairing.
DVD EXTAS: Blooper Reel.
Hail to the comedy chiefs 'cause they're the chiefs and they need hailing....
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Class political comedy where two people who have a passionate dislike for each other (the two ex-presidents) have to overcome some of their differences to expose a government... Read morePublished 2 months ago by sraz
The movie has its funny moments. Lemmon and Garner play off of each other perfectly. Although the plot is kind of goofy, it's worth seeing these two great actors together.Published 2 months ago by Brian Rammel