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Election

Director: Alexander Payne
Writers: Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor
Paramount Pictures; R; 105 minutes
Release:4/99
Cast: Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein, Jessica Campbell

There's proof of intelligent life in high-school comedies. Election stars Reese Witherspoon as Tracy, the ruthlessly ambitious teenager running unopposed for class president. Likeable but beleaguered teacher Mr. McAllister (Matthew Broderick) engineers some democratic challenge by encouraging a dull-witted football star to run against Witherspoon. The jock's anarchist-lesbian little sister joins the race, but the real action lies in the jousting agendas of Tracy and McAllister played out while McAllister's marriage begins to sag. Election is genuinely funny, with a satirical scope that snipes high school and the American electoral process with equal accuracy. The wit here speaks to an adult audience (George Washington Carver High School is in a nearly all-white Nebraskan town), although teenagers will appreciate the spot-on portrayals of teenage life forms and the men and women who teach them.


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