When so many serious films have been made about American presidents, it comes as a relief that "Dave" is not another one of them. And while this is a light movie, it pulls off the impressive feat of blending old-fashioned romance with gentle comedy and a sprinkling of modern satire.
The plotline certainly offers as many opportunities for humour as it does sinister implications. President Bill Mitchell suffers a stroke while in bed with one of his aides, rendering him a human vegetable. Look-a-like ordinary guy Dave Kovic (Kevin Kline) is hurriedly drafted in to impersonate him.
But as the real President slips into a coma, Dave is forced to move from performing simple stand-in stunts to actually carrying out his duties, including dealing with his frosty wife (Weaver). She, like the nation, is not enamoured with his cold personality and Dave faces an uphill battle to win over her and the voters. Only as far as the sinister Chief of Staff Frank Langella is concerned, Dave will not be around long enough to make amends as he plans to ultimately take over the hot seat.
But Dave is a genuinely good man and he begins to enamour people with his warmth and humour. This might signal the death blow for films these days, especially cynical, modern audiences. It is however a challenge that Kevin Kline is more than able to match with his witty portrayal of Dave. The additional heart-warming touches by director Ivan Reitman and a superb supporting cast bring out the type of feel-good emotions that make this flight of fantasy a pleasure to watch.