My Fellow Americans B, BAAA

Warner/1996/101/FS 1.33

      A road movie with two ex-Presidents on the run from baddies in the government? Tell me Iím dreaming. Well, someone dreamed it up and pulled it off in delightful style, providing excellent acrimonious banter between the  two rival politicians bonding on the road. 
      Former Presidents Kramer and Douglas are forced to fend for themselves when President William Haney tries to shift blame for a brewing scandal to his predecessors. When Kramer and Douglas make noise like they may upset the apple cart, Haney sets  ruthless  Colonel Paul Tanner on their trail. The pair escape an helicopter explosion and make their way through middle America in search of proof of innocence. Some of the entertaining situations include a moment of recognition in a menís room, dealing with the pains of car rental. The only time the film seems to veer in the wrong direction is when they hitch a ride with a family of campers. Clearly, the presidents overstep their mission to provide laughs here.  

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      Much of the humor revolves around the personalities of the two main characters and repetitive mistaken identity or shock at finding the Presidents on unusual situations. The repetitive humor is served in a variety of venues and depends on the charm of its actors to make it acceptable. Peter Segalís direction is no nonsense from situation to situation to a rather silly ride to conclusion. My Fellow Americans is an easy movie to enjoy for its charms.  
      The former presidents are well cast in James Garner and Jack Lemmon. The later plays parsimony with a familiar relish, while Garner, aging extremely well, retains his suave, easygoing style throughout the film. Dan Ackroyd is cartoonish as the current President William  Haney. Everett McGill is a notable villain in the role of Tanner. 
      Unfortunately, Warner has issued a Pan and Scan only DVD of My Fellow Americans. Originally composed for 1.85, I didnít notice any significant compromise of image composition, yet, given the flexibility of DVD, why deliver anything less than the best the medium can offer. A letterboxed image could have been included even if an anamorphic transfer was not available. That said, the DVD delivers all the sharpness DVD has to offer. The bright, upbeat film palette is handsomely transferred to DVD. Colors are brilliant and contrast offers a dazzling range. Sound is very clean. Errant gun shots and marching band brass are equally well directed on the sound track. A blooper real provides a bonus of additional laughs






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