In the first two minutes of the movie there's a scandal that doesn't appear to be connected to the mayor. It has absolutely nothing to do with him. Really, it doesn't.
This movie has a serious point-of-view problem. The world as we see it is filtered through the eyes of Kevin Calhoun (John Cusack), Deputy Mayor of New York City. Consequently, the impression we get of his boss, Mayor John Pappas (Al Pacino), is of a guy utterly honest and utterly devoted to improving the city, fighting for world peace, feeding the hungry and making sure scientists don't sodomize laboratory mice.
In the first two minutes of the movie there's a scandal that doesn't appear to be connected to the mayor. It has absolutely nothing to do with him. Really, it doesn't. Remember, this is supposed to be a "thriller" so if you can't predict the ending at this point, a trip to your brain surgeon might be in order. If the little trail of crumbs Kevin starts following leads to Barney Fife in Mayberry there's no real emotional impact is there?
Al Pacino is remarkably calm in this film, although his penchant for spouting cute political phrases becomes tired after the third or fourth "being mayor is like a box of chocolates." He also proves to be such an impossibly skilled orator that he manages to transform a crowd of skeptical African-Americans at a funeral into a throng of adoring fans with a deft Martin Luther King impression. Is this New York City or Disneyland?
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