The first thing viewers will notice is that the characters in this film are stereotypes. The Republican delegate from Texas named Dave (Matthew Mabe) talks of personal responsibility, the need for war, and faith in the president. The liberal activist, Leah (Woodwyn Koons), wants troops out of Iraq and Bush to fail in his re-election bid. Leah and Dave are old college friends, and they both have their separate relationships. When Dave comes to New York City for the Republican National Convention and seeks out the ready-to-protest Leah, you know sparks are going to fly both in and out of the bedroom.
In most films, stereotypes don’t work. They do here, as they are handled realistically and are pretty true to form. These people act exactly how you’d expect reactionaries, slogan shouters and lackeys to act. Oddly enough, though, Dave the Republican is the only one who really shows any character growth, as he starts to question exactly what he believes in only to be shut down by both sides when he starts to ask questions. When in anger he swings even further to the right, it not only feels right, but he’s almost justified. Unfortunately that anger is supposed to be directed at a person and not the entire liberal movement, which takes the brunt of his fury.
As far as love stories go, this one is fairly middle-of-the-road. It’s predictable, but firmly grounded in reality. One thing that really helps the film overcome its weak focal point, however, is the fact that it was filmed during the real Republican National Convention, which means there are plenty of great shots of the protests (which would be financially impossible for a small filmmaker to stage), and an almost palpable energy. (As an aside, some of the crew were even detained while filming the movie.)
This film has superb casting and excellent locations, but all of that is countered by a seen-it-before story. All in all, though, it’s well worth watching… if only to see a little bit of yourself in the characters.