Critics Consensus

Ivan Reitman's refreshingly earnest political comedy benefits from an understated, charming script and a breezy performance by Kevin Kline.



Total Count: 59


Audience Score

User Ratings: 42,772
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Movie Info

The ghost of Frank Capra must have smiled when he saw Dave, an amusing and effective update of one of Capra's favorite themes -- the scrupulously honest little guy who becomes a force for good against a corrupt system. Dave Kovic (Kevin Kline) runs an employment agency and seems to genuinely enjoy finding work for people who need it. He also bears a striking resemblance to the president of the United States, Bill Mitchell (also played by Kline) and occasionally gets work as a Bill Mitchell impersonator. One day, Dave gets a call from the Secret Service -- for security purposes, they want to hire him to act as a decoy for an upcoming appearance by the president. All goes well, but later that evening President Mitchell suffers a massive stroke while in bed with his mistress. Wanting to keep the matter a secret, two of the president's top advisors appeal to Dave to stand in as Bill Mitchell until he regains his health. One of the men behind this scheme, Bob Alexander (Frank Langella), hopes to use Mitchell's absence to promote his own right-wing political agenda, but after a few weeks "in office," Dave decides it's time to promote some changes of his own that will help increase employment and keep homeless shelters open. Dave also finds himself growing fond of Ellen Mitchell (Sigourney Weaver), the President's wife, while Ellen sees in Dave the idealism her husband left behind years ago. Dave features numerous cameo appearances by politicians, Washington insiders, and journalists; Oliver Stone also appears to explain a conspiracy theory regarding sudden changes in Bill Mitchell's behavior.


Kevin Kline
as Dave Kovic/Bill Mitchell
Sigourney Weaver
as Ellen Mitchell
Frank Langella
as Bob Alexander
Kevin Dunn
as Alan Reed
Ving Rhames
as Duane Stevensen
Ben Kingsley
as Vice President Nance
Charles Grodin
as Murray Blum
Bonnie Hunt
as White House Tour Guide
Parley Baer
as Senate Majority Leader
Stefan Gierasch
as House Majority Leader
Anna Deavere Smith
as Mrs. Travis
Tom Dugan
as Jerry
Bonnie Bartlett
as Female Senator
Steve Witting
as 1st Secret Service
Lexie D. Bigham
as White House Guard
George Martin
as President's Physician
Jason Reitman
as Vice President's Son
Gary Ross
as 2nd Policeman
Bernard Kalb
as Himself
Larry King
as Himself
Jay Leno
as Himself
Stephen Root
as Don Durenberger
Dawn Arnemann
as Mom at Durenberger's
Ralph Manza
as White House Barber
Tom Kurlander
as Trauma Doctor
Geneviève Robert
as Vice-President's Wife
Paul Simon
as Himself
Frank Birney
as Director of OMB
Alan Simpson
as Himself
Ben Stein
as Himself
Paul Collins
as Secretary of Treasury
Peter White
as Secretary of Commerce
Oliver Stone
as Himself
Robin Gammell
as Postmaster General
Jeff Tackett
as Himself
Helen Thomas
as Herself
Robert Walsh
as Speaker of the House
Wendy Gordon
as Announcer
John Yang
as Himself
Dan Butler
as Reporter
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News & Interviews for Dave

Critic Reviews for Dave

All Critics (59) | Top Critics (21) | Fresh (56) | Rotten (3)

Audience Reviews for Dave

  • Jun 18, 2019
    Unassuming, heartfelt comedy.
    Spencer M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 10, 2014
    This is an earnest and heartfelt little movie, with a great performance from Kevin Kline. This is one of those sentimental feel-good movies about the little guy that becomes beacon of goodness in the face of corruption and it was a pretty damn good one at that. Personally, I think Kevin Kline tried too hard to be likable, like the little man that can overcome every obstacle put in front of him in order to become a better president than the guy he was hired to replace. Maybe that's how the script was written, but Kevin Kline tries to be too likable, almost to a fault. That's not to say Kevin isn't good, because he is very good and the film, while it has a good script with plenty of comedy, relies on Kevin Kline's shoulders and he's certainly up to the task as he delivers the goods. I think the script also has some pretty serious "dark" moments, particularly for how light-hearted the film is. Like the whole stroke thing with the real president, that guy never gets out of that coma. It's not super dark, but you don't usually see that in these light-hearted, silly comedies. So I thought that was a good touch that added a little more serious touch to a silly story. The cast is really quite good and they're definitely the reason the film gets the score that it does. The script is also quite funny and I think that combination makes the film a lot of fun to watch even if it is a little sentimental.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Nov 20, 2011
    Frank Capra would be proud. Ivan Reitman's second best film.
    Graham J Super Reviewer
  • Aug 07, 2011
    This is an absurd plot, however it's an enjoyable little movie to watch when there's nothing better to do. It's mediocre.
    Sarah P Super Reviewer

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