First Family -- AMC Academy, K-B Baronet West, K-B Cinema, NTI Annadale, NTI Landover, NTI White Flint, Roth's Tysons Corner, Showcase Mercado and University.
The place that the movies call Washington -- a mythical city where every cheap motel room has a perfect view of the Capitol, and residents take their recreational walks around the Jefferson Memorial -- isn't much fun for Washingtonians to see on the screen. After you've recognized a neighbor who was employed as an extra, what can you do except count the ludicrous mistakes?
But "First Family," of all slapstick films, has captured some genuine Washington looks. In between the outlandish antics, which don't always come off as funny, are low-keyed satirical looks at the local-federal scene, that do.
There is a polite scuffle for souvenir pens at a bill-siging. A state gift is held up for the press by the president, who announces, with controlled enthusiasm, "It's a rock." Everyone at the White House Mess guffaws when someone says, in a strategy session, "We certainly don't want to do anything illegal." The president reminds his press secretary, before a state visit, to "try and make it look as if we like having a lot of black people in the White House . . . comfortable, that's the word."
It is rather amazing to see this film succeed, where serious ones have failed, in capturing these nuances; it makes up for the times when it overreaches and fails.Bob Newhart plays the president, Madeline Kahn his wife, Gilda Radner his daughter, Harvey Korman his ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Benjamin his press secretary, and Rip Torn the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They all manage, no matter what is going on, to keep those wonderfully, authoritatively set faces that we all know and love around these parts.