“Running Mates,” the TNT political drama, premieres Sunday, April 8th at 8 p.m. (ET/PT) – on the eve of the Democratic National convention. In the film, the Democratic National Convention has begun and Michigan Gov. James Reynolds Pryce (Tom Selleck) is assured of his party’s nomination. He is enjoying enormous popularity, while at the same time feeling pressure from his party’s power elite. The message from the moneymen is clear: Support their agendas and back off the issue of campaign finance reform – or lose their financial support in the general election.
Pryce’s campaign is bolstered by the powerful women in his life: Lauren Hartman (Laura Linney), his brilliant and principled campaign manager and a fierce supporter of his idealistic platform; Pryce’s wife, Jenny (Nancy Travis), who, though politically savvy, is at odds with her husband over their family’s privacy; Shawna Morgan (Teri Hatcher), a glamorous Hollywood fundraiser who is Pryce’s Hollywood connection; and Meg Gable (Faye Dunaway), the wife of William Gable (Robert Culp), Pryce’s mentor. Meg wants her husband to be on the Pryce ticket more than she wants anything else, and she’s not giving up without a fight.
Have you ever seen a political drama where the lead was a good man – and a Republican? Well, you won’t here, either. Once again, the caring, good-looking candidate is a Democrat. I mention that because the powers that be in Hollywoodland never seem to show Republicans in a favorable light. Admittedly, the Democratic Party doesn’t fare much better in this production, but it would be refreshing to see someone in the GOP not merely used as a comical foil. “Running Mates” gives us a cynical look at the wheelings and dealings of the political system. While the lead and his main aide espouse the need for financial reform, their personal morality seems as hypocritical as the film’s villains. When did morality become a non-issue in the politician’s makeup? Oh, yeah. The film points out that money and a misuse of power are choking the political system. And while our leaders publically maintain that virtue and integrity are important, privately they are anything but chaste. Due to the lighthearted treatment of adultery, the one nude shot, the sexual innuendo and the overall cynical portrait of political life, we cannot recommend this film for family viewing.