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Election - Blu-ray DVD / comedy DVD / satire DVD review
ELECTION Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 1/2 stars
Actors: Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein, Jessica Campbell, Phil Reeves
Director: Alexander Payne Distributor: Paramount
DVD release: 20 January 2009 Runtime: 103 min.
(1 disc)
Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD features: 1080p High Definition, Aspect ration 2.35:1, Audio tracks (Dolby TrueHD 5.0 Surround - English; Dolby Digital 5.0 Surround - French, Spanish), Subtitles (English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portugese), Commentary w/ dir. Alexander Payne

Everyone who's been there can remember students like Tracy Flick (if you can't, perhaps you were Tracy Flick). She's an overachiever - always on the honor roll, in charge of the math club as well as the Latin club, and more. She's been working since grade school to pad her college resume, and to ice that cake she hopes to be president of the Student Council. Reese Witherspoon assumes the role perfectly. Sitting straight-backed in her chair, she raises her hand for every question and regurgitates the textbook answer when the annoyed teacher finally calls on her. She's all business and will not tolerate sloppy presentation in the hanging of her election posters.

Playing annoyed teacher Jim McAllilster is Matthew Broderick. He doesn't call on Tracy much if he can help it. Sure, he wants to coax some understanding out of the other students, but he's also had it up to here with Tracy, whose unethical relationship with a faculty member the previous year ruined that friend's life and has made McAllister wary of her. Most of the students like Mr. McAllister ("Mr. M"). He's a decent teacher who addresses incorrect answers in terms of how correct they were, if only minimally so, rather than how the student got it wrong.

Flick is running unopposed to begin with. Mr. M thinks that perhaps he should encourage some opposition, so he puts a bug in Paul Metzler's ear. Football star Paul (Chris Klein) has been sidelined by a skiing injury. He's frustrated by this blow to his sports future, but he's a good-natured kid who's popular with most of the school. He takes on the task of running in a spirit of good sportsmanship and honest competition. Everything he does seems to be done in this spirit - he even gets conflicted about voting for himself on election day.

This is as much a story of Tracy Flick's ambition and subsequent loneliness (she can't believe that nobody wanted to sign her yearbook) as it is about Jim McAllister, a basically good guy who stumbles in life and suffers for his poor choices. Election is an excellent film and a great example of Alexander Payne's work.

The Blu-ray edition keeps the extra features to a bare minimum, which is disappointing. The picture and sound are excellent, however, and we get Payne's commentary - which is great, but with such an acclaimed film that features such great moments and performances, some retrospective interviews would have been nice. If you enjoyed Payne's Sideways or About Schmidt, pick up a copy of Election. You won't be disappointed. There's no reason natives of Omaha shouldn't have this in their library. Election was filmed there, as was About Schmidt.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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