Remember the days when Robin Williams was considered one of the funniest working actors in the business with hits such as “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Aladdin” and “Death to Smoochy”? Well it’s sad to say, but we may never see that Williams again.In his recent endeavors such as “RV” and “Robots,” Williams just doesn’t cut the mustard, so to speak, and his latest attempt, “Man of the Year,” fails to muster many laughs.
Williams plays Tom Dobbs, a Jon Stewart-ish late-night talk show comic, who decides it would be wildly funny if he started to campaign to become the next president of the United States.
The joke backfires when Dobbs gets elected thanks to a voting machine glitch that only one person knows about, a Silicon Valley techie, Eleanor Green, portrayed by Laura Linney (“The Exorcism of Emily Rose”).
Now, the audience is supposed to think Dobbs is flat-out hilarious because he makes some cliche jokes. When asked about who was going to be in his political cabinet, he remarks, “Well, I’ve looked at the IKEA catalog and didn’t see anything.”
In a similar joke, he is asked about his tanning parlor and says, “I think they set me on George Hamilton.” How creative of the writers to make what must be the one-millionth joke about George Hamilton being excessively tan. (For those of you who may have a hard time placing George Hamilton, he was the older tan guy on the second season of “Dancing with the Stars.”)
With a president who doesn’t really know too terribly much about the political landscape, you would think the writer would have had Dobbs choose advisers who could help guide him along the way, but alas, that does not happen.
Dobbs’ advisers, Jack Menken and Eddie Langston, played by Christopher Walken (“Wedding Crashers”) and Lewis Black (“Accepted”) respectively, snicker and say such things such as, “This guy smiles so much it’s starting to upset me,” and “There seems to be a link between smoking and heart disease. Or am I just making that up?”
When the movie reached the halfway mark, the jokes, if you can call them that, stopped and the movie turns into a “thriller.”
Green re-enters the picture and is being threatened by corporate thug Alan Stewart, played by Jeff Goldblum (“Jurassic Park”). She manages to walk right up to the new president-elect at a party.
Now, does she tell Dobbs she knows about the glitch that got him elected? Of course not, because then the movie would be over, and we still have an hour left.
The movie had an original premise, but the biggest problem with “Man of the Year” is that Williams’ character is not convincing as either a comedic talk show host or a presidential candidate. It feels longer than the four terms Franklin D. Roosevelt served, and our current president can incite more laughs accidentally than this fictitiously written character.
This is the worst “Man of the Year” since Time Magazine named Adolf Hitler as its top male in 1938.