Reviewed by: Susan Quirk
Does character matter in political leaders? Answer
Voting—Do Christians have an obligation to vote? Answer
What part should morality play in politics? Answer
Should Christians seek political power or should we only focus on evangelism? Answer
|Featuring:||Robin Williams, Christopher Walken, Laura Linney, Jeff Goldblum, Lewis Black|
|Producer:||Guy McElwaine, David Coatsworth, Robert N. Fried, James G. Robinson, David Robinson|
“What if a comedian ran for President? …What if he won?”
What would happen if you woke up the morning after election day only to discover a comedian had been elected President of the United States? Perhaps just politics as usual according to “Man of the Year.”
When comedian and talk show host Tom Dobbs (Robin Williams) accepts a dare from an audience member to run for President not even his best friend and acting agent (Christopher Walken) believes he will create more than a ripple of publicity for his television career. But Dobb’s “warts and all” strategy mixed with a “cut to the chase” understanding of issues creates a firestorm of support with a cynical and weary voting public. Dobbs even manages to gain enough percentage points to gain entrance to the prestigious presidential debate which he transforms into a standup comic routine with the message of eliminating the systemic fraud, favoritism and corruption within American politics.
What began as a joke for publicity turns slightly serious though, as even Dobbs himself begins to believe he is a legitimate candidate for President. These delusions are validated when Dobbs wins the presidency and is headed for the Oval Office. Ironically though, the first political deception Dobbs must deal with is evidence of the fraudulent nature of his own victory brought to him by a persecuted whistle blower Eleanor Green (Laura Linney).
The character of Tom Dobbs is highly compartmentalized. He is brutally honest (as evidenced by even his admittance to the time and location of his last gas passing), is a devoted friend (he spends the night of his election victory in the hospital by the side of his ill friend) and does the right thing in the end, even when it requires great sacrifice and humility. However, our “Man of the Year” uses extremely foul language, promotes promiscuity, porn, gay marriage, divorce, drug use, prostitution, and has no problem making jokes about bestiality, masturbation, Jews, and Christian world views. Additionally, much of the political bent of this movie insinuates that the person who yells the loudest and does the most interrupting is the most passionate political thinker.
The semi-documentary style of this movie was effective, and Robin Williams portrays the multifaceted character of Tom Dobbs in a charming manner. I did laugh a few times, enjoyed the surprisingly suspenseful conclusion and particularly the emphasis on personal integrity. One cannot find fault with the primary thesis of this movie which is that truth matters. However, truth and integrity must permeate all aspects of our lives. As much as we cheer on Tom Dobbs in his acknowledgment of truth regarding his candidacy, we cannot dismiss the lack of truth and rightness in his other behaviors. For example, Dobbs admits to utilizing the services of a prostitute, and the audience is expected to applaud his honesty. He does not apologize for the utter degradation that this act caused another human being or acknowledge how this behavior fuels an international sex trade and other abuses against females.
As a Christian, I am glad to see the pursuit of truth exemplified in a film, however, we must remember that any and all sin keeps us from knowing and serving God. We need to repent from all the sin in our lives, change our behavior, accept forgiveness and remember that Jesus is not Lord at all unless He is Lord of all.
Violence: Minor / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.