By Owen Ferguson, Kelvin Chan and Scoop Gerbil
Primary Colours is a waste of time and money. The movie lacks all those things one would expect from it — humour, a plot, moral dilemmas and decent acting.
Let’s start with humour — there’s not much of it, and the most memorable laughs come not from the wit of the screenplay, but from stupid sexual innuendos and lame pratfalls. There’s no witty repartee to speak of.
Next there’s the movie’s utter lack of plot. The film, adapted from the best-selling book by Anonymous, is the story of Jack Stanton, (hmm, could it be Bill Clinton in disguise?) a state governor who’s trying to get nominated as the Democratic candidate in the American presidential elections.
Unfortunately, he has had some trouble in the past (he was a draft dodger, he fooled around on his wife) and so he may not get elected. La-de-frickin’-da. The whole plot revolves around the constant back-and-forth struggle Stanton has in the polls as he tries to win the Presidency.
All of this should set the stage for a number of moral dilemmas — such as how far should one go to win an election? — but there are never really addressed in a satisfactory manner.
Other pivotal characters in the film include Adrian Lester in his feature film debut as Henry Burton, Jack Stanton’s young and idealistic deputy campaign manager. Stanton’s campaign team also includes political advisor Richard Jemmons (Billy Bob Thornton) and campaign trouble shooter Libby Holden (Kathy Bates).
Eventually, the corruption of the whole election process takes its toll on the characters, even driving one to take one particularly drastic measure (which we won’t reveal here).
As for acting, John Travolta does a less-than-stellar portrayal of Jack Stanton, which is a thinly-veiled impersonation of Bill Clinton. Travolta’s Stanton relies on little more than eating like a pig, fooling around with women, shaking people’s hands and getting slapped by his wife (Emma Thompson as Mama Stanton). But what else could one hope to achieve, trying to portray a gluttonous Southern Democrat and state governor?
Anyway, save your time and money and pass up seeing this film. If you want to see a funny, interesting movie about American political relations, see Wag the Dog, which is a million times better. If you want to see a movie about how Bill Clinton won the presidency, see The War Room, a movie which documents the real story behind Clinton’s election. And if you just want to see some guy who looks like Bill Clinton screw around with a bunch of women, go rent Bubba Does Dallas, part III.