The Contender

Director: Rob Lurie
Year Released: 2000
Rating: 2.0

A variation on the Clinton/Lewinsky fiasco situation with a fantastic Joan Allen playing a Senator getting the nod by President Jeff Bridges (very, very good) to apply for the Vice President position (over another Senator who tries to save a girl from drowning) so he can, out of pride, claim to have set a hallmark in the American Political System. Kinks clog the machinery as Allen turns out to have a rather, um ... kinky past, as a sex-crazed sorority slut (the film's portrait of college life is one of unceasing carnality - I don't know what school the filmmakers went to, but something tells me it's based on stereotypical hearsay and Animal House), and Kenneth Starr replacement Gary Oldman (brilliant, as always ... one of our finest living actors) tries to bring Bridges' ploy to a grinding halt for personal reasons (I think it's out of a deep-seeded animosity towards Bridges but I'm still not sure - it could be plain old misogyny). Not only is this too long, meandering in parts where it should be more direct, setting up chances to give the actors more speeches and soliloquies regarding the power and glory of this fine nation, but it's also painfully moralizing, hammering into your head its message regarding how the 'double-standard regarding women and sexuality is unfair' and also uncomfortably explicit when speaking of the 'deviant acts,' over and over again, that Allen took part in. The ending completely falls apart, because of Movie Logic, reestablishing Allen's reputation as unblemished and professional, and stating that indeed, the forces of oppressive patriarchy and close-minded male-driven America have been suppressed so justice and truth can shine on. Embodying that, Allen jogs through the Arlington National Cemetery, by those that have fought so gallantly and died so bravely, all the while the President's speech plays on the radio. To quote Yakov Smirnoff, "What a country."