Dates in parentheses indicate a full review of the film in the Monitor.
THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT - This film poses a legitimate political question: Could a widower president of the United States go out on a date - in an election year? The answer, of course, presents some hilarious situations, as President Andrew Shepard repeatedly "trips over his job." He can't send her flowers because he has no personal way to pay; when he calls her, how can he make her believe it's the president calling? The characters and campaign style bear striking similarities to the Clinton administration, my favorite being Michael J. Fox's caricature of George Stephanopoulos.
The movie's overall innocent charm is interrupted by a sexual situation in one scene. (PG-13, Columbia TriStar Home Video, Nov. 17, 1995)
-- Eric C. Evarts
JUMANJI - Children discover a mysterious adventure game in which a roll of the dice may produce a real monsoon or man-eating plant. Hair-raising, computer-generated special effects are definitely for the mature end of PG, even on the small screen, but eventually all is set right. The movie, vastly extrapolated from a children's book by Chris Van Allsburg, is rescued from being a total special-effects platform by good characterizations and performances from Bonnie Hunt and Kirsten Dunst. Robin Williams also stars. (PG, Columbia TriStar Home Video) -- Owen Thomas
CASINO - The latest mafia movie from director Martin Scorsese centers around a Las Vegas casino executive trying to juggle his job, mob colleagues, and an untrustworthy wife. Many aspects of the film - acting, costumes, soundtrack - are top-notch. But at times the story is too slow-moving for its three-hour length and includes some excessive violence. Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci are well-cast as the harried boss and his uncontrollable muscleman - but the roles are clearly no stretch for these two perennial gangsters. Also on the bill is Sharon Stone, who earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of the hustling wife. (R, MCA/Universal Home Video, Nov. 24, 1995)
-- Kim Campbell