*** GM
Starring: Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein, Jessica Campbell, Mark Harelik, Molly Hagan, Delaney Driscoll


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People are always happy to delude themselves into thinking whatever it is they're doing is the right thing to do and the tasty way to do it. No matter what ridiculously obvious mistakes they're making in their lives, it can seem like destiny to them.

Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) has deluded herself into thinking maniacally and disturbingly striving to win the student council presidency is important enough to rationalize her lack of any friendships. Her teacher Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick) deludes himself into thinking that conspiring to derail Flick's campaign and cheating on his wife are justified machinations of fate. Jim's teaching colleague Dave (Mark Harelik) deludes himself into thinking he's madly in love with Tracy. Paul Metzler (Chris Klein) deludes himself into thinking he'll make a class president worth a damn. Tammy Metzler (Jessica Campbell) deludes herself into thinking she's not a lesbian even though she's only been attracted to women her whole life AND that every new girlfriend she makes is going to be with her for life. A great deal of rationalization going on in the film, and once you see enough of it, you start to realize how truly pathetic it is.

This film is a comedy, but I don't really recall laughing much at all throughout it. That's not to say it wasn't GOOD, but it's to say it's NOT an 'uprorious romp.' There was a lot more bemused grinning and subtlety here that takes it to a darker place... and it is occasionally uncomfortable to watch these people completely destroy their own lives for utterly foolish ideas of destiny.

Matthew Broderick, who left his talent in his other pants when making God-fucking-zilla, seems to have taken his ticket to the cleaners and gotten the right pants this time around, turning in a good performance as the slowly unraveling Jim. Witherspoon's frenetic Flick is appropriately overboard, irritating and squirrelly when she's cornered, and Chris Klein, the dumb but earnest jock running against her, brings to mind the glory days of a young Keanu Reeves. Although this guy seems to have a bit more going for him upstairs, and might just be able to do something else besides the dumb guy.

It's a pretty sad (or uplifting, depending on your viewpoint) thought put forth here - no matter how badly someone screws up their life and no matter how many WRONG things someone does, most people will probably figure out a way to pretend it was for the best. That's either a testament to the human spirit or a condemnation of human self-absorption. You make the call.

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