May 9, 1999 [Election]

Like Matthew Broderick's frozen-friendly schoolteacher--so far from but so close to Ferris Bueller--the movie's title, Election, is one letter away from the male aspiration, the masculine assertion: Right away, before we're even sure what kind of movie we're watching, Broderick's fellow teacher exclaims about teenage wetness with such sudden ejaculatory insistence that nothing in Election can be simple anymore--or maybe just the opposite: as simple as it gets, the official rules torn without ceremony like a horny Scribe's garment as he hears the last outrage and clenches up and lets go.

Election is in fact the stickiest, slipperiest, most squirmy-humid little movie I've ever seen.  And much of that is due not only to Broderick--who is as desperate as he is chipper--but to Reese Witherspoon, whose monomaniacal drive as Tracy Flick reminds me of Molly Shannon's Mary Katherine Gallagher--all the drive but without the finger-sniffing.  Tracy's pointy, anal-retentive features and mannerisms are bizarrely erotic--no, maybe not "erotic"; but something like it, some polymorphous whisper along the high school corridors, some dangerous invitation to go crazy in the act of winning.  Her campaign for student council president has its political moments--but these politics are definitely personal, as personal as her bedroom tears--as her bedroom itself, or whatever it is that compels male teachers to jump on her--one in surrender-lust, the other in rage.  When she sees Broderick, all but smothered by his caved-in sandpit of a life, she shouts, "Looks like you could use a cupcake!" The entendre is lost on no one.

Of course, Tracy wins in the end, while Broderick keeps trying to keep that smile plastered on his face--and maybe she's doing the same, no longer having to climb to the top of her high school--a limo takes her places now, at the heart of D.C., where her cupcakes should find some takers if she thrusts them in their faces hard enough.


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