Dave Parent Guide
A movie that somehow combines lots of laughs with an earnest belief in using politics to help others.
Parent Movie Review
Dave Kovic (Kevin Kline) runs a temp agency where he spends his time coaxing, badgering, and persuading local business owners to hire clerical staff. He also has a side gig – impersonating the President of the United States, for whom he is a dead ringer. When the Secret Service asks Dave to act as a body double to improve the President’s security after a public appearance, he jumps at the chance to serve his country.
Dave doesn’t know that while he’s smiling and waving at his fellow citizens in the hotel lobby, President Bill Mitchell (also played by Kevin Kline) is upstairs in the same hotel, having an affair with his secretary. When POTUS has a stroke and falls into a coma, White House Chief of Staff Bob Alexander (played with barely contained menace by Frank Langella) is incensed. Having built President Mitchell’s political career, Alexander feels entitled to enjoy the fruits of their success and has no intention of letting something as trivial as the Constitution stand in his way. Alexander has Dave rerouted to the White House and persuades him that national security is at stake unless he keeps impersonating the president. Flattered and eager to help, Dave agrees.
Parents will quickly see the biggest moral challenge with Dave – having a bloodless coup d’etat treated as comic fodder. That said, Dave is clearly behaving without malice and is being manipulated by Alexander and his assistant, Alan Reed (Kevin Dunn). There are also consequences for the dishonest actions of the unscrupulous characters, so parents can be reassured that their teens will see clear lessons abut getting what you deserve.
Parents will be less happy with some of the content issues, particularly the sex scene involving President Mitchell and his secretary. The scene features Mitchell lying atop the young woman and the couple are heard moaning. There is also a moment where Dave is shown with full rear nudity through the steamy glass of his shower. Neither scene requires that level of detail to further the plot and it’s disappointing that they weren’t dialed down. Fortunately, other negative content is minor, with a dozen profanities, most of which are terms of deity.
On the bright side, Dave is a funny and light-hearted yet somehow earnest tribute to an idealized America, where ordinary citizens can be elected to high office and where a sincere desire to help others is all you need to change the world. This production has a strongly Capra-esque sensibility, sharing the heartfelt optimism of Frank Capra’s movies like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It’s a Wonderful Life. Like Capra, Dave believes in the best of his country and encourages his fellow citizens to believe too. And that’s not a bad message for any family movie night.Directed by Ivan Reitman. Starring Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, and Frank Langella. Running time: 110 minutes. Theatrical release May 7, 1993. Updated May 23, 2020
Watch the trailer for Dave
Rating & Content Info
Why is Dave rated PG-13? Dave is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for momentary language and a sexual situation.
Violence: None noted.
Sexual Content: A couple is shown having an extra-marital affair: we see the man’s bare back as he lies on top of the woman and moans are heard. A man’s back and side are seen through a steamed up shower door. A man’s bare chest is seen in the shower and later when he is wrapped in a towel. A woman mentions her husband’s history of infidelity.
Profanity: There are approximately one dozen swear words in the film, mainly terms of deity but also a few scatological curses and minor profanities.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None noted.
Page last updated May 23, 2020
Dave Parents' Guide
How does Alexander persuade Dave to keep impersonating the President? Why do his arguments work? What makes Dave vulnerable to his manipulation? Have you ever been talked into doing something you knew you shouldn’t do? Why did you give in? How can you make sure you stick to your own convictions next time?
Related home video titles:
The American President is another comedy set in the White House, this time centered around a widowed president who falls in love with a lobbyist.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington stars Jimmy Stewart as an earnest politician who gets elected to Congress and battles to uphold the Constitution.
Journalists uncover presidential wrongdoing in All the President’s Men, the story of the Washington Post reporters who exposed Nixon’s involvement in Watergate.