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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'Election': A Highly Amusing Comedy about a High School Presidential Race in Omaha, Nebraska

Movie poster for the film Election starring Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon

“Election” (1999) is a compelling and highly amusing comedy about a high school presidential race in suburban Omaha, Nebraska, starring Matthew Broderick as Jim McAllister, a well-liked high school teacher who oversees the student government as well as the electoral process,

The film follows the tightly-contested race for leadership of the student body between the overeager Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) and polite star football player Paul Metzler (Chris Klein). Harboring burning disdain for the overachieving Flick, McAllister secretly plots to sabotage her candidacy, drawing him into a web of trickery and deceit as he attempts to ensure Metzler’s win.

The storyline follows McAllister's desperate attempts to influence the race’s outcome, even as his home life disintegrates and allegiances shift, leading him down an amusingly sordid path of desperation and blunder. Broderick brings great comic energy to his role as a seemingly well-adjusted adult role model unable to overcome life's frustrations and his own petty animosities.

Based on the novel by Tom Perrotta and directed by Alexander Payne ("Sideways", "Nebraska"), "Election" features dynamite performances from both Broderick and Witherspoon, and is distinguished by its sharp dialogue and crisp direction from a young burgeoning talent in Payne. It's is a wonderfully twisted satire of high school dramatics and the American political process, guaranteed to put a smile on your face.


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