101 Funniest Screenplays

Based on the novel by Tom Perrotta, the script by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor won the 2000 Writers Guild Award for best adapted screenplay and earned Payne and Taylor their first Oscar nominations. Dark satire meets a campaign for student council president at a suburban high school (Payne shot the film in his native Omaha, Neb.). With the super-achiever Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) cruising to victory, a teacher (Matthew Broderick) decides to rig the election so she’ll lose, rationalizing to himself – and the audience – that the monster-striver must be stopped. As antagonists, Broderick’s sad-sack teacher and Witherspoon’s type-A-plus student make Election a deeper kind of high school comedy. The familiar hallways of rigidly defined cliques serve as a backdrop for a hilarious clash of wills between an adult and a teenager where the stakes keep growing.

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