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Running Mates (1992)

Every now and then I’ll catch a made for cable film and realize that’s exactly where it belongs. On the small screen. Despite having two top notch performers this romantic comedy with politics for it’s back drop comes up short overall.

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Ed Harris is the front candidate to win the nomination to run for the Presidency. Luckily for him he bumps into Diane Keaton as he’ll need a wife beside him to become a winner. This according to his team of handlers. Finding Keaton to his liking he romances her while at the same time hiring her as a member of his team and speech writer.

In some of the films best scenes we get Keaton at odds with Harris’ campaign managers over what direction his platform should take. She isn’t one to smile and follow the party line. This is of course where the tension between the two leads will give us the viewers the opportunity to watch their relationship go through the ups and downs of a poorly scripted Hepburn and Tracy imitation. That’s the sad part of this whole endeavor. Somewhere in here there was a much better film awaiting to be written and filmed.

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Keaton and Harris go through their on and off again romance when the biggest hurdle of all presents itself. It seems that in the days of the Vietnam demonstrations our leading lady made a “film” which isn’t exactly good for the Ed Harris campaign should it be leaked to the press by a rather slimy Russ Tamblyn.

Not to worry as Ed Harris is going to do his best not to let Keaton compromise her principles and at the same time lay into the media about the line between ones private affairs and what it takes to sit in the oval office. It all sounds nice down the stretch but I have a feeling in the real world Ed’s character would be thrown to the wolves and a new man would be in his place with the nomination.

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Ed Begley is in here for a rather thankless role and somehow I think the film would have been better if the worry had been shifted from an old “stag” film to a nutty brother-in-law possibly in the white house.

Done on a small scale and with forced performances at times this won’t go down in the books as one of Keaton or Harris’ better films. It tried but lost it’s way although I am sure it paid a few bills for the leading duo.

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