The Distinguished Gentleman
|The Distinguished Gentleman|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jonathan Lynn|
|Produced by||Marty Kaplan
|Written by||Marty Kaplan
Sheryl Lee Ralph
Joe Don Baker
Charles S. Dutton
Sonny Jim Gaines
|Music by||Randy Edelman|
|Editing by||Barry B. Leirer
|Studio||Touchwood Pacific Partners N.V.|
|Distributed by||Hollywood Pictures|
|Release date(s)||December 4, 1992|
|Running time||112 min.|
|Box office||$46,666,502 (USA)
SEK 5.8M (Sweden)
The Distinguished Gentleman (1992) is a comedy starring Eddie Murphy. The film was directed by Jonathan Lynn. In addition to Murphy, the film stars Lane Smith, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Joe Don Baker, Victoria Rowell, Grant Shaud, Kevin McCarthy, Charles S. Dutton, Victor Rivers, Chi McBride, Sonny Jim Gaines, and Noble Willingham.
A Florida con man named Thomas Jefferson Johnson uses the passing of the longtime Congressman from his district, Jeff Johnson (who died of a heart attack while having sex with his secretary), to get elected to Congress, where the money flows from lobbyists. Removing his first name and shortening his middle name he calls himself "Jeff" Johnson. He then manages to get on the ballot by pitching a seniors organization, the Silver Foxes, to nominate him as their candidate for office.
Once on the election ballot, he uses the dead Congressman's old campaign material and runs a low budget campaign that appeals to name recognition, figuring most people do not pay much attention and simply vote for the "name you know." He wins a slim victory and is off to Washington, a place where the "streets are lined with gold."
Initially, the lucrative donations and campaign contributions roll in, but as he learns the nature of the con game in Washington D.C., he starts to see how the greed and corruption makes it difficult to address issues such as campaign finance reform, environmental protection, and the possibility that electric power companies may have a product that is giving kids in a small town cancer.
In trying to address these issues, Congressman Johnson finds himself double-crossed by Power and Industry chairman Dick Dodge. Johnson decides to fight back the only way he knows how: with a con. Johnson succeeds and exposes Dodge as corrupt. As the film ends, it appears likely that Johnson will be thrown out of Congress for the manner in which he was elected.
Eddie Murphy appeared in this Disney-produced film after a string of Paramount Pictures star vehicles. Bernie Weinraub, film reviewer for The New York Times, offered his opinion that Murphy wished to "move beyond the tepid material" he had been given by Paramount. Writer and producer Marty Kaplan said of Murphy's involvement "I feel like I've come close to winning the jackpot".
Critical response 
It was released in December 1992 and went on to gross approximately $47 million at the domestic box office. Critical reaction to the movie however was mostly negative. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times liked the premise and what it had going for it, but criticized it for its "slow pacing", despite it being a screwball comedy. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly called it "a sterile, joyless comedy, photographed in ugly, made-for-video close-up and featuring a farce plot so laborious it suggests John Landis on a bad day". eFilmCritic.com called it a "tepid Eddie Murphy political farce", and the film currently holds a 13% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
- Internet Movie Database. Box office / business for The Distinguished Gentleman (1992). Retrieved on May 7, 2009.
- Tinna Elfstrand Corlin (1992-12-04). "Film page at Johnathanlynn.com". Jonathanlynn.com. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- By BERNARD WEINRAUBPublished: October 16, 1991 (1991-10-16). "Archive Story". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "A look inside Hollywood and the movies. : THE MURPHY FILE : Some Might Say That Fantasy Isn't Such a Bad Deal, Given the Political Realities". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
- "Weekend Box Office : 'Home' Still Alone at the Top". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
- "National Video Rentals : 'Gentleman' Fends Off 'River's' Rush". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
- "A Roger Ebert review". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- Reviewed by Owen Gleiberman (1992-12-11). "Review by ''Entertainment Weekly'', December 11, 1992". Ew.com. Retrieved 2012-12-12. Text " Dec 11, 1992 " ignored (help)
- "Rotten Tomatoes reviews". Rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- The Distinguished Gentleman at the Internet Movie Database
- The Distinguished Gentleman at AllRovi
- The Distinguished Gentleman at Rotten Tomatoes