Dave (1993): One of Reitman’s Best (Grown-Up) Films, Starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver

Dave: One of Reitman’s Memorable Films

Ivan Reitman was a legendary comedic director and producer responsible for some of Hollywood’s most popular comedies, particularly during the 1980s when he had a streak of blockbuster hits.

Sad news broke Sunday that Reitman ad passed in his sleep at the age of 75.

However, his legacy lives on with a library of titles that were known for their irreverent-bordering-on-anarchic style which drew from Reitman’s ability to evolve a comedy beyond its script on the fly.

Reitman said that, as a director, his approach was “very controlled,” but he also gave his actors the option to run free for a take to see what they come up with.

“There’s a moment when the actors can say anything they want, and then, part of the fun for me as a director is to take that raw work and just structure it and rework it and make it conform to the character work and to the plot, which is evolving as well,” Reitman said.

“It’s a way of being a co-writer of a movie as it’s being shot.”


Ivan Reitman attends Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood on September 12, 2019 in Universal City, California.


Ivan Reitman

Dave (1993)

Dave, a charming comedy, is not a film that many people revisit or talk about these days.

Yet only Ghostbusters was more critically acclaimed among Reitman’s directed features upon release.

Is the film too naive and innocent by today’s standards?

It’s a zeitgeist feature, Bill Clinton-era political comedy, about a small business owner (Kevin Kline) who abruptly becomes president.

It’s important to remember that the comedy was made just after Clinton assumed the presidency, and years before the Monica Lewinsky’s scandal and threatening impeachment.

Among other merits, Dave proved that Reitman was more than just a skillful craftsman adept with special effects juvenile fare.

Though by no means a great film, Dave delivered a grown-up, warm-hearted comedy, which went beyond Reitman’s best-known teen-audience fare, such as the 1979 Meatballs.


It also reunited the director with his Ghostbusters star Sigourney Weaver as the film’s imposing female lead.

Then at the prime of her career, having scored two Oscar nominations (lead and supporting) in the same year (1988), Weaver showed strong chemistry with Kline, the kind of which was missing when they reunited several years later, in Ang Lee’s 1997 drama, The Ice Storm.