Both drama and comedy on ballot

Review B

October 13, 2006|By Michael Sragow | Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic

Barry Levinson's Man of the Year is being sold as Jon Stewart Goes to Washington. But beneath the marketing of Robin Williams as a Stewart-like comedian running for president is a piquant comedy-drama without a prefab element in it.

From the moment you see and hear Christopher Walken as the comic's manager, Jack Menken, telling the tale from a wheelchair, you know it's not your ordinary stand-up-does-good story. Head of State (2003) starred Chris Rock as a D.C. alderman who becomes the Democratic presidential candidate, but whatever laughs it had came from an audience's affection for Rock, and the fictional construct only diluted his essence. In Man of the Year, writer-director Levinson creates a character for Williams that showcases his frenetic verbal jazz without watering it down.

Man of the Year (Universal) Starring Robin Williams, Laura Linney, Christopher Walken, Lewis Black. Directed by Barry Levinson. Rated PG-13. Time 101 minutes.

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