Alexander Payne (1999)

15 Certificate
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Our Score
Near the top of the league table for high-school movies, this is a dark and very funny twist on the popularity contest theme often central to the genre. The casting of Matthew Broderick (familiar to many as determined truant Ferris Bueller) as a devoted teacher trying to prevent manipulative overachiever Reese Witherspoon from becoming student president is inspired. Director/co-writer Alexander Payne is repaid by his star with a performance of sincere if muddled idealism. Pitted against jock Chris Klein (a pretender for Keanu's slacker crown) and his lesbian sister (Jessica Campbell making a revelatory debut), Witherspoon's blend of corruption and compassion slyly satirises contemporary American politics, while George Washington Carver High School serves as a microcosm of late-20th-century society. Astute, offbeat and uproarious.


A teacher develops an irrational dislike for an overambitious student and plans to sabotage her campaign for school president. He persuades a dim-witted athlete to stand, in the hope he will pip the high-achieving front-runner to the post - but the intervention of another student throws the plan into disarray. Satirical comedy, starring Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein and Jessica Campbell.

Cast & Crew

Jim McAllister Matthew Broderick
Tracy Flick Reese Witherspoon
Paul Metzler Chris Klein
Tammy Metzler Jessica Campbell
Walt Hendricks Phil Reeves
Dave Novotny Mark Harelik
Linda Novotny Delaney Driscoll
Diane McAllister Molly Hagan
Director Alexander Payne
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: U.I.P. (UK)Guidance: Swearing, sex scenes and nudity. Available on: video, DVD and Blu-ray