Alexander Payne's hilarious, cynical satire which reached cult-status after being released on DVD. His second film (Payne would go on to direct Sideways and The Descendants), adapted from Tom Perrotta's novel about a high-school student-body election. Starring Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon.... More

Roger Ebert put it well: "Alexander Payne is a director whose satire is omnidirectional. He doesn't choose an easy target and march on it. He stands in the middle of his story and attacks on all directions."

The multi-character tale centres on a battle between despicably ambitious student Tracey Flick (Witherspoon), gunning to win the school election, and teacher Jim McAllister (Broderick), intent on stopping her. Through this conflict brews a wicked battle of small scale politics, deception, and failed morality.Hide

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The Press Reviews

92% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Now here is a movie that is not simply about an obnoxious student, but also about an imperfect teacher, a lockstep administration, and a student body that is mostly just marking time until it can go out into the world and occupy valuable space. Full Review

  • An excellent movie, funny and painful, with a perfectly-turned punchline and a black humour. Full Review

  • A nearly flawless little film, a cheerful nightmare that knows just where it wants to go and uses precisely calibrated comic effects to get there. Full Review

  • This story might have lent itself to pratfalls and broad gags, but Mr. Payne keeps it chillier. He sees the frailties of all the film's characters, even if its plot is supposedly about winners and losers. Full Review

  • A dark, insidiously funny satire on the self-involved ways otherwise rational people can allow narrow personal agendas to lead them astray to the point of self-destruction. Full Review