Politics

New York film critic says Romney's chief problem is he's 'too presidential'

As Mitt Romney continues his quest to win the Republican nomination to be President of the United States, he looks increasingly in control of everything but his image.

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The problem, if you ask New York film critic David Edelstein, is that Romney fits the role of President too well.

“If you were a casting director and you submitted Mitt Romney, you would be laughed out of the office,” he said. “They would all say he’s ‘too on the nose.’ There’s still part of us that looks at Mitt Romney and says ‘he’s not real.’”

That struggle for authenticity has plagued Romney throughout the race.

Pundits like Peggy Noonan compare him to American dads from the 1950s, like Ward Cleaver, who “terrorized and comforted a generation of children from non-functioning families.”

Others deride Romney as a robotic candidate programmed by his handlers.

Edelstein said most classic Hollywood political movies actually start with that very premise. After a meteoric rise, the movie climaxes with a big speech in which the candidate rejects his handlers, "throws away the prepared text, and speaks from the heart for the first time.” So far, Edelstein said, Romney is staying on script. 

If Romney does match up against Obama, Edelstein thinks it would make a great movie, but not an election drama.

“You really look at Romney and Obama together and you’d want to say, ‘Wait a minute, shouldn’t they be two detectives? Shouldn’t they go out and solve murders together? Why are they debating each other?’" Edelstein said. "There’s just something about them that’s classically Hollywood.”