My Fellow Americans is one of the few comedies I have truly enjoyed from the last 15 years. That is a bold statement, but comedy has changed so much that it is absolutely true. I am not a fan of today’s humor. It is crude and rude, and that is not my style. Now, this movie does have some moments that I do not particularly like, either; however, on the whole, it is good and actually makes me laugh, which few modern day comedies do.
A big reason for the excellent humor is the casting of Jack Lemmon as President Russell P. Kramer and James Garner as President Matt Douglas. These two are class acts who can do all kinds of characters and genres with much power and conviction. Together, they are a hoot.
Lemmon and Garner play past Presidents, one a Democrat and the other a Republican. The beginning of the movie has all kinds of barbs and craziness dealing with how each one wins and then loses, and then what comes after the White House. Then, by happenstance, they are drawn into a mystery. Once they realize they were about to be murdered, they join together to find out the truth.
There are so many fun moments, like when they walk into a small town rental car agency and are instantly recognized. This is followed by Lemmon driving a car for the first time in years. Then there are the private versions of Hail to the Chief. It makes you wonder if every President really does have their own lyrics for their theme song. The last scene is right in character and ends the movie on a real laugh. I love it!
There are some fine supporting performances as well. Dan Aykroyd and John Heard are good, as is Sela Ward. It is Wilford Brimley as Joe Hollis and Lauren Bacall as Margaret Kramer who are outstanding though. This is especially true of Bacall, who even in this small role reminds all of why she is so highly regarded in the industry.
My Fellow Americans is a political movie that concentrates on fun, and it works.