Although I felt like Dave wasn't as funny as it really deserved to be.
While I felt like the material in Dave was clever as its story followed a strongly original concept and truthfully depicted the nature of the white house while satirically examining the nature of American politics as a whole, it just wasn't the right kind of funny on a consistent basis. It was easy to look at Dave and think "that's clever" and "that's funny" but not so easy to really find myself laughing. I know Dave is a comedy, but I didn't find that it had the comedic energy to really leave audiences likely to laugh too much. Perhaps the film is dated and perhaps politics simply isn't that funny a concept, but Dave didn't have me laughing. It had me entertained and I admired its clever comedic elements, but I didn't laugh at them. I guess its satirical edge was a loose one, and its examination of political comedy really didn't stretch as far as other films have such as Warren Beatty's 1998 political satire Bulworth. To contrast the two, Dave was lighter in nature but didn't examine dramatic elements as deeply as Bulworth, nor did it present many situations that left me laughing. The doesn't mean that Dave is a bad film, it simply means that its the kind of comedy film funny for its material and concept moreso than its jokes.
And the other thing was that the energy didn't feel all in there. While the script was a clever one which was truthful and effective, it could have been funnier if its delivery was a little more charged. The actors all give a fine effort, but if director Ivan Reitman had taken an angle which gave more passion to the script treatment and tried harder to ensure that the comedic delivery was more energetic, then Dave would most likely be funnier. The film felt real, but perhaps almost too real to soar into comedic territory all that much.
But like I said, I still enjoyed Dave.
I enjoyed it more as a light dramedy with a comedic concept than as a single handed comedy. I found that it began as a comedy and then took a really meaningful look into the political world. While touching upon certain concepts rather lightly, it still did it in an amiable way. It examines the somewhat reckless nature of politics and how some people carelessly throw millions of dollars away over senseless campaigns and such. Without being a self-indulgent criticism of the White House, Dave stands to make some strong political points of its own while working as a parody of them. Essentially, it manages to find the right balance between being a satire of politics and a straight political film which isn't always easy to do.
And it looks at everything intelligently because Dave refuses to become burdened by an excess of talking with too many big words, because while the script uses intelligent themes and language, it also takes a lot of clever and humourous looks at a better way to actually run a country which makes it a politically intelligent film. The script in Dave makes a valid commentary on the political system while giving it a nice satirical edge without going into over-the-top gags. The fact is that Dave is a funny film for its jokes and for the fact that it is possible that such a story could happen, as well as revealing what happen when a person goes into politics with the intention of pleasing people who deserve a fair go in life, instead of for monetary gain. Dave is a film that a lot of politicians need to look at and come to the realisation of how things could improve.
The thing that is most great about Dave is Kevin Kline's performance. The man is a comedy genius, and he proves that by playing the titular role in Dave. Kevin Kline steps into the part and performs it with depth and passion and delivers his lines with true dedication to the character. You can see that it is no challenge for him because he seamlessly deviates between playing a character and playing a character playing his own character easily by putting his natural charisma into the part. Dave features one of Kevin Kline's best performances to date because he carries the entire film from start to finish with a charismatic and hilarious leading performance. He delivers his lines with natural leading charisma, and it encourages him to progress through the story every step of the way as if the character he plays is his genuine persona. Kevin Kline carries the comedic nature of Dave on his shoulders very well, and it reminds us just how funny he is in a leading performance.
Sigourney Weaver is a nice presence in Dave because she easily steps into the role of First Lady Ellen Mitchell with charm and sophistication without challenge. She embodies the level of class necessary to the part without challenge and serves to produce a great chemistry with Kevin Kline. Sigourney Weaver's restrained but meaningful effort in Dave produces a romantic edge for the film which is played off very nicely and contributes to the characterisation of the titular Dave very nicely. Sigourney Weaver is genial in Dave.
And Ving Rhames is always a good presence, taking on the role of the President's Bodyguard with ease and well timed line delivery, as well as the fact that he physically fits the profile of the part well.
So although Dave did not prove to be quite as funny as I had hoped, it was a very cleverly written political satire which had a nice light nature, a sufficient quantity of laughs and a great leading performance from Kevin Kline who successfully holds the film up on his shoulders.
Kline occupies these roles with ease, and can switch between them seemingly at will. Supported by a raft of stars including Sigourney Weaver, Frank Langella, Ben Kingsley, Ving Rhames and Laura Linney, and featuring cameos from the likes of Jay Leno, Larry King and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the plot and the script combine to form a funny, thought-provoking trifle of a film.