Jim McAllister, a well-liked high school government teacher, can't help but notice that successful student Tracy Flick uses less than ethical tactics to get what she wants. When Tracy runs for school president, Jim feels that she will be a poor influence on the student body and convinces Paul, a dim-witted but popular student athlete, to run against Tracy. When she becomes aware of Jim's secret involvement in the race, a bitter feud is sparked.
Amusing and compelling high school dramedy with Broderick and Witherspoon When a high achiever student (Reese Witherspoon) runs for president of the student body at her Omaha high school one of her teachers (Matthew Broderick) encourages an amiable jock to run against her (Chris Klein) because he finds her irritating. “Election” (1999) is a quirky high school dramedy in the mold of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (1982), but with a unique plot revolving around a school election. It’s not raunchy like the contemporaneous “American Pie” (except for one line by a teacher early on), but it is adult-oriented as there are several simulated sex scenes between various characters with no nudity. While they’re overt, they’re sorta amusing and fairly essential to the story. This is a must for anyone who’s a high school teacher as it understatedly satirizes the setting. The flick shows how easy it is for a good teacher with years of quality work to make a thoughtless mistake and suddenly fall out of grace. Yet it also shows redemption. Of course the film pokes fun at the election process and the rivalry of candidates, etc. There are a 2-3 laugh-out-loud scenes with Spaghetti Western music blaring (specifically, Ennio Morricone’s score from 1966’ "Navajo Joe"). Witherspoon is perfect as the female protagonist (although her face looks like Drew Barrymore on the poster), but I never found her alluring. I suppose Frankie Ingrassia (Lisa) and Jessica Campbell (Tammy) make up for it despite the eye-rolling lesbian component, which isn’t very substantive. The film runs 1 hour, 43 minutes and was shot in the Omaha, Nebraska, area (Papillion, Bellevue, LaVista, etc.) and, at the end, Washington DC. GRADE: B-
'Election' builds relatively slowly though really does become a fun movie by its conclusion. It's most definitely worth a watch. Matthew Broderick is excellent throughout, as are the likes of Reese Witherspoon and Chris Klein. The films goes to some unexpected places and manages to make it work. And there's a great callback in there too. I will say that I didn't love the internal monologue bits, but they didn't derail the film for me in any major way.