Cinema: Filibluster

The Contender loses the race by talking too much

Another confession: liberal movie critics tend to be critical of liberal movies. We're more susceptible to the red meat of an old Clint Eastwood actioner than to the good intentions of a warm-'n'-fuzzy plea for brother- and sisterhood. It's not the politics that rankles so much as the piety. That's where The Contender, Rod Lurie's new Washington drama, stumbles. It has surface smarts but a soft head. Billy Elliot appeals to liberal emotions, The Contender to liberal righteousness.

The Vice President has suddenly died, and President Jackson Evans (Jeff Bridges) needs a replacement. Surprise: he wants a woman, Senator Laine Hanson...

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