Barry Levinson’s political satire is clunky from the get-go and never recovers. TV comedian Tom Dobbs (Robin Williams) makes a quip about running for president and lo and behold if he isn’t (“It’s no joke,” is his motto). But as his manager Jack Menken (Christopher Walken) points out, he’s not funny when he’s serious.
When Dobbs turns back into Robin Williams, all changes — or appears to. Meanwhile, the computer corporation assigned to tally election returns ignores a telltale “glitch” (“Perception of legitimacy is more important than legitimacy itself,” says the company’s attorney.) Levinson wants to wed neurotic satire, superficial politics, and Big Top bottom lines (think “Manchurian Candidate” meets “Network” meets Levinson’s own “Wag the Dog”).
But Williams’ best efforts to straddle pseudo-thriller and romantic comedy go nowhere in particular. Laura Linney is wasted as Eleanor Green, a computer geekess who blows the whistle. A disappointing effort