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STUDIO: Buena Vista
RUNNING TIME: 500 Minutes
"Geena Davis is the president of the whole wide world!"
Geena Davis. Donald Sutherland. Kyle Secor. Harry Lennix. Peter Coyote.
The President of the United States’ hit point meter has
reached zero and his vacated job falls in the lap of his Vice President, a
woman. When her “allies” try to force her out of office, she rebels by taking
the job. Is she the best man for the job? She thinks so and millions of dollars
of the highest grade television production wants to prove it to us. Geena Davis
is the boss of America: the most cutthroat island ever!
Yeah, and I’m the scalp of Jack Elam.
There’s a misconception about Commander in Chief. It is not a political drama. It is science
fiction, and it has nothing to do with the fact that the president uses douche.
Well, she probably uses douche. Let’s face it; she ought to douche. What makes the show science fiction is how tidy it
all is and how it doesn’t really represent our own human Earth but some other
Earth where nothing happens that’s all that tough. The bad guys are bad until
it’s time to deliver a moment of surprising warmth, each expected crisis never
really digs too deep to allow the show to be really too hot button centric, and
the idea that the leader of the “free” world is a job that ANYONE can slip into
so effortlessly is an awful lot to swallow. No, that is not a pennilingus joke.
Yes, I’m aware that our hero begins the show as the reigning Vice President,
but as you realize just superficial of a veep she was in the order of things it
just seems that they make her too good too soon. I’m no expert, but I think
it’s not realistic this woman (or a man or El Chupacabra) would come into the
job and be instantly able to manhandle a room full of Generals. From a guy
whose weekend hobby is manhandling Generals, take my word on that.
But man, she needs to douche.
"And you tell The Incredible Coin I ain’t afraid of him and will be right here waiting to say it to his two-sided face!"
After The West
Wing, I suppose audiences need an alternative to intense and talky White
House phantasmagoria. This show is far more intimate, since it is about the
family of the big boss, but it’s intimate in a weird way. Too many episodes
come to a climax as the Commander in Chief is getting ready for nookie with her
husband and it’s just odd, even in a post-Clinton world, to be seeing our
leader in a position to inherit or donate semen. Also, the children in the show
are handed such generic subplots that it’s really hard for things to remain
interesting outside of the Oval Office and no, that is not a vagina joke.
There’s the cute and perky younger daughter, the son who’s dealing with his
identity and his desire to be a good son, and the teenage daughter with
contrasting politics with Mommy and guys who want to take advantage of her. They’re
not given enough meat (especially the daughter, if you know what I’m sayin’) to
really become fully realized characters and they’re given too much screen time
to be solid peripheral characters.
Fuck the first family. The first family is overrated.
They’re annoying supporting cast members and we have a plethora of teen angst
shows already out there.
Even Kiefer was surprised when they renewed 24 for a 63rd season.
Unfortunately, the leading cast isn’t as tight enough a
unit to make the heart of the show beat too strongly. Geena Davis cuts a
charismatic and statuesque portrait as President Mackenzie “Mac” Allen, earning
her Golden Globe statue by being both convincing as the biped with her finger
on the button and a politician trying to find her way in an alien and
unforgiving world. Donald Sutherland is his usually compelling and fatherly
self, treading the line between being just a bitter codger and a full on
mustache twirling villain. In smaller roles, Peter Coyote and Natasha
Henstridge (who is as vavoom as ever) actually deliver the best work on the
whole show. Harry Lennix is good at times and a little off the mark at others
and Kyle Secor seems a little to featherweight for the role but a lot of that
is due to his character getting the underwritten “wife” part typically doled
out to, well, women. That is a vagina joke. No it isn’t. I wish it was but
wishes and vaginas pass like ships in the night in the lives of CHUD.com staff.
A show like this takes on water when its cast can’t execute the somewhat high
concept and even with excellent above the line talent like Sutherland and
Davis, it’s just not enough to make Commander
in Chief a winner.
The show was created by Rod Lurie, a guy whose Deterrence
is a sleeper and a half and whose The Contender is no meager film in
its own right. The Last Castle? Let’s move on. Lurie’s a former film critic
(and as you know, they should never be allowed to make films) and he’s always
had a hankering for politics so this is no surprise. Originally envisioned as a
follow-up to The Contender with Joan Allen reprising her role, this thing
evolved into what ultimately got taken off the air, had Lurie replaced, and got
Geena a statue to put on the mantle next to her “Best Maggot Deliverer” trophy.
It’s not bad, it’s just not original or compelling
enough to be a Contender.
There’s a pair of special features on this DVD. They
are Jack and Shit. Enjoy them.
6.5 out of 10