My Fellow Americans

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If you pour a Coke into a Pepsi can does that make it a Pepsi?Welcome to "Grumpy Old Presidents," taste-tested by filmgoers across the land as "the most original, laugh-out-loud funny comedy about crotchety old men since the last movie about crotchety old men that we saw not too long ago."

Perhaps credit is due this film for not even trying to avoid comparisons to "Grumpy Old Men" as it casts Jack Lemmon as Republican ex-President Russell Kramer. However, rabid fans of the "Grumpy Old Men" series (and they are legion) would be well-advised to take some cyanide with them to use once they discover that Democratic ex-President Matt Douglas isn't played by Walter Matthau, but by his from-a-distance look-alike, James Garner.

Kramer and Douglas find themselves the targets of a devious plan by current President William Haney (Dan Aykroyd), who thinks that "Grumpy Old Men 3" could prove a threat to national security and is trying to kill them. Known among administrators at the Writers Guild as "Plot #2," Kramer and Douglas avoid doom while bickering between themselves, yet come to gain respect for each other as they run from one "funny" sequence to another.

Speaking of funny sequences, the one where Kramer's driver is shot in the head is a laugh riot. I guess "Naked Gun 33 and 1/3" and "Tommy Boy" didn't constitute enough of a cinematic wasteland for the studios to conclude that director Peter Segal hasn't quite nailed down the concept of humor yet. Perhaps this will make them think twice when he tries to float his next project: "Rwanda: the Musical."

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