I was only 10 years old when The Distinguished Gentleman got released. It was not until I was in my 20’s did I finally catch this epic political comedy.
Quite honestly, had I caught this Eddie Murphy film at a younger age, I may not have appreciated all the political stuff. With a deeper understanding of how Congress worked and the capabilities of those in elected positions, I was able to sit back and laugh from start to finish with the rest of them.
In case you have no clue what this comedy is about, Murphy plays a con artist who has the same name as a dead congressman. In an attempt to cash in on that guy’s fame and fortune, Thomas Jefferson Johnson (Murphy) decides to run as the dead congressman. Before you know it, Johnson wins and is on his way to ruffle feathers in Washington, D.C.
I can’t express it enough, but this movie is hilarious. It is a political comedy that came before some blockbusters of this century. The story makes you suspend disbelief since everyone should know what their congressman looks like. Because this film takes place before the digital revolution, the characters can pull off such nonsense.
The film doesn’t take itself too seriously and doesn’t dig deep into the political game. It does touch upon the inner workings of committees and the roles certain politicians play. It is hilarious how the writers didn’t shy away from the drama associated with positioning within the ranks and the values someone can bring to the table.
I think my favourite part is when Johnson turns on Dick Dodge (Lane Smith). Both characters reactions to the events as they unfold is the image that is still in my head to this day. Murphy has one of the best smiles in the industry, so to see him crack at the end was worth following his unlikely journey to superstar congressman. 7/10