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ELECTION ($30) is a riotous black comedy about how politics makes strange bedfellows, even at the high school level. ELECTION stars Matthew Broderick as Jim McAllister, a well liked and well-respected high school teacher, whose teaching duties make him the faculty advisor on the student government. With the annual election for Student Body President rapidly approaching, McAllister is appalled to find that only one student, a certain student, is running for that office. That student is Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon), an eager, young go-getter who also happens to be a straight "A" student. In a perfect world, Tracy would seem to be the ideal person for Student Body President, but this isn't a perfect world.

Tracy isn't everything she appears to be, and McAllister knows the painful truth about her. Not wanting Tracy to be elected, McAllister prompts another popular student to run for the office. Little does McAllister know that this action will send his life into a hilarious downward spiral. Both Broderick and Witherspoon deliver on-the-money performances, and it is especially pleasing to see Broderick on the other side of the desk after his turn in FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF. Unlike teen comedies that only go for a laugh, ELECTION is the kind of a movie that goes for someone's throat to get a laugh. The cast of ELECTION also features Chris Klein, Jessica Campbell, Molly Hagan, Delaney Driscoll and Colleen Camp.

Paramount Home Entertainment has done a fine job of transcribing ELECTION to DVD. The film is offered wide screen only in a very good looking 16:9 enhanced transfer. ELECTION is framed at 2.35:1 and the image is clean, clear and very natural looking. Sharpness and detail both rate high, but the image lacked that hyper-realistic look that one finds on some of the best DVDs. For the most part, colors reproduced with realistic saturation, however there are stronger saturated hues that are recreated with equal fidelity. Flesh tones appear quite healthy. Blacks are true black and the image has smooth contrast. Digital compression artifacts never really made their presence known.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack provides a typical comedy mix. Primary focus is placed upon dialogue and the forward soundstage, with the surrounds offering ambient sounds and musical fill. There are some nice spatial effects in the front channels and the actor's voices are cleanly and naturally reproduced. Rolfe Kent's score is recreated with a nice musical quality and it is well integrated into the mix. An English Dolby Surround soundtrack and English subtitles are also encoded onto the DVD.

The interactive menus have a basic design, but provide the required access to the scene selection and set up features. Also available through the menus is the disc's only supplement- an audio commentary with director Alexander Payne. The talk is sometimes sporadic, but it is worthy of a listen if one has become enamored with surprising wicked little black comedy.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1999 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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