Guarding Tess - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Guarding Tess Reviews

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December 13, 2016
Pleasant movie. Good cast. Comedic and dramatic tension between Cage and McLaine is marvelous.
½ December 13, 2016
I have seen this movie several times. I really like it. The affection between "Tess" and Nicolas Cage is very real. It's a small, simple movie about real people in the big spotlight of politics.
September 17, 2016
Contrived & manipulative, but it always brings a tear to my eye because of its 2 principals.
April 18, 2016
Guarding Tess est une comédie dramatique sur un garde du corps bien trop diplômé pour veiller sur la Première Dame des USA. Ce qui pourrait être mélodramatique se trouve élevé par la simple présence de Nicolas Cage et Shirley MacLaine, absolument parfaits. Mais Guarding Tess, aussi bien intentionné qu'il soit, est particulièrement inintéressant à cause du manque total de péripéties originales à faire vivre à nos deux protagonistes, qui passent donc le film à s'envoyer des piques plus ou moins drôles. Dommage, car le supporting cast est aussi bon que les deux monstres et que le film a la bonne idée de ne durer que 90 minutes. Mais réellement, rien n'est à garder de cette sympathique pochade qu'est Guarding Tess.
January 12, 2016
A charming if fantastical seriocomedy, and that's its only problem. It begins as a delightful lighthearted comedy; then its 180-degree turn to Serious Stuff is jarring and hard to swallow. The ultimate redemption of the security staff is also a fantasy. Finally, the depiction of the Secret Service agents in the light of recent revelations of widespread misconduct in the Secret Service seems to mischaracterize the stress of the job and its effects on the agents. So why the four stars? Because of the iutstanding performances, laughs, air of intimacy created by the ensemble, and attention to detail. Nicely scored as well. It's fun, fun, fun, and one of those movies I always seem to end up channel-surfing to and watching with great enjoyment.
½ November 14, 2015
Vähän pitkäveteinen leffa. Hyvät näyttelijät. Sopii ihan hyvin ajankuluksi odotellessa teinipoikia leffateatterin yönäytöksestä... ;) (Suom. Oma pikku agenttini)
May 4, 2015
It STARTS out lighthearted and funny, then plunges into deep dark Thomas Harris-esque territory. I've never seen a movie do a complete 180 on me the way this one did. I was shocked. I enjoyed it, but what a rollercoaster ride!
½ April 19, 2015
Friends at the end but hated enemies the whole time before.....yeah riiiiiiight.
February 1, 2015
Matching Academy Award winners Nicolas Cage and Shirley MacLaine in a comedy, Guarding Tess sounded like a fun mismatch comedy feature .

I certainly did not get what I was expecting out of Guarding Tess. With such a ridiculous premise, you would have presumed that it would mainly focus on a Driving Miss Daisy type situation where the central basis for the film is the banter between the determined young man and the grouchy old woman. In a totally unexpected turn of events, Guarding Tess actually turns its premise into one that is dramatic while the atmosphere attempts to be comedic which means that the tone is very strange. It is a difficult one to grasp because you can never be certain that what you're watching is comedy or drama as the film goes back and forth between them without ever being settling. Because of this, it is never properly interpretive as dramatic but also sporadically funny as a comedy. Most of the entertainment value of the film comes into play primarily because it is just so strange in its approach, but in that same regard it is possible that viewers will find themselves isolated from the film because it cannot always decide what it wants to be. I could not decide how to interpret it, but the whole time I was trying to do that I only found it to be slightly entertaining. Really, it all falls down to the fact that Guarding Tess cannot decide whether it wants to be a legitimate political thriller, a parody of one or a simple odd couple themed comedy regarding different states of class. The problem is that there is too much to fit in there, and writer-director Hugh Wilson cannot for the life of him find the right balance to make it work. It is material which is virtually beyond repair as it is so loosely constructed without a strong base. It is just too strange because the screenplay does not have enough clever quips about the world in it or any real recognizable jokes. Despite a high concept premise and interesting setting, Guarding Tess reduces itself to being a derivative political story without much creativity to it whatsoever. The story in the film is not one which is worth remembering in the slightest because it is not clever enough, and it just seems like a wannabe version of Driving Miss Daisy which gets too caught up in being a political thriller to really do justice to its viewers as a comedy. I never felt any shocks from the film which meant that it was not an absorbing drama, and the supposed comedy of the film did not leave me laughing at any point so it is safe to say that it fails in both areas predominantly because of the fact that the two genres prove to really counter each other in a negative fashion. Things clash in Guarding Tess, and when I say that I do not mean the banter between mismatched characters.
The main thing establishing the atmosphere in Guarding Tess as being comedic is the musical score because the screenplay itself does not really have enough jokes in it, and so the only thing really reminding viewers that things are meant to be funny proves to be the music in the feature, even though it doesn't do much else for the film. Its production values are also good.
The one thing which makes Guarding Tess memorable and really entertaining on any level comes from the performances from the central two cast members.
Nicolas Cage's performance is a serious asset in Guarding Tess, and that can rarely ever be said about an intentional Nicolas Cage comedy film. Nicolas Cage's over the top demeanour which has been known for turning many films such as Deadfall or The Wicker Man into unintentional comedy works to a comic benefit in Guarding Tess. Since the film takes itself so seriously but also wants to coexist as a comedy, it is actually the perfect fit for Nicolas Cage because he takes his leading role on in such a hardcore fashion where he is merciless with aggression. Nicolas Cage takes the role on in such a dramatic fashion while the film around him mixes the atmosphere between comedy and drama which actually makes things funny in such a ridiculous fashion. His over the top performance is one of the funniest aspects of the film and proves to be one of the best examples of his over the top nature in cinema which actually proves beneficial for once as it makes Guarding Tess a memorable film. He stands out as the best aspect of the film.
Shirley MacLaine is also a nice addition to the cast. As the titular Tess Carlisle, Shirley MacLaine fits the profile well because she captures all the grouchy elements of the character without going over the top. She manages to make Tess Carlisle a sympathetic character without forgetting to implement in the little elements that make her follow a comedic archetype. She isn't as funny as you might hope because her character is not as light in nature as she should be to really make a funny impact, but Shirley MacLaine has no difficulties getting the nature of the character correct. It is certainly one of her less funny roles of her many comedic efforts, but within the strange mood of the film she is able to play the role out in a dramatic fashion fairly well. Her chemistry with Nicolas Cage is fairly good since they both take the project so seriously and are able to make a strong match for each other, and so Shirley MacLaine's confidence proves to be a nice touch to Guarding Tess.

So Guarding Tess benefits from the surprisingly dedicated performances from a rather funny Nicolas Cage and a firmly dramatic Shirley MacLaine, but the loosely constructed screenplay and inconsistent tone make for a rather shaky experience which isn't funny or dramatic enough to work on any level.
January 4, 2015
Cage and MacLaine have a comedic chemistry
½ August 4, 2014
(First and only viewing - 10/24/2012)
July 21, 2014
not too terrible but kinda a pointless Tad bit boring movie no real plot just a secret service Guy frustrated with watching the first lady who has a lil bit to much fun driving her body guards up the wall with pointless idiotic stunts oops I spoiled the movie
June 4, 2014
300th movie review! Should have been 300 but oh well! This was planned for awhile. Guarding Tess is a very funny and likeable comedy film enlivened by standout performances from Nicolas Cage and Shirley MacLaine. I also use the term comedy very loosely, not because it wasn't funny or anything, the opposite is true in-fact, but the films tone changes heavily right near the end and it feels like two halves of a different film using variations of the same script and then it was just spliced together, not only that but it feels like a normal film about two people that just has comedy in it, not, a comedy film that has people in it. I was going to call this a lighthearted comedy instead of a likeable comedy at the start but the ending just has the biggest tonal shift and it was quite strange! The film, however, reeks of the 1990s, if I didn't already know when the film came out it wouldn't take me long to work it out. Musical cues, little quirky moments for brief comedic relief and fade out cuts? Oh yeah, this a 90s film. Not that there's anything bad with that but the comedy is a product of it's time, which sounds weird but it's just the type of humour that was funny around that time and without giving spoilers away you'll just have to take my word for it. Again, I'm not saying it wasn't funny, it's just when I laughed I just thought to myself 'oh that 90s humour, how we miss ye'. Even for its silly comedic appearance it shows off at first the film does have a deep undertone to it, it involves death, moving on and kidnapping. Even with the negatives that I focused on for the the majority of this review I did in fact enjoy the movie and I liked my time with it.
Super Reviewer
May 7, 2014
Nick Cage is solid in it as a incensed bodyguard driven mad by the crazy whims of the ex-first lady. Shirley MacLaine is great in it as the feisty & hard to deal with battle axe. A predictable friendship eventually forms. Family Viewing.
½ April 28, 2014
Directed by Hugh Wilson (Police Academy (1984), The First Wives Club (1996) and Blast from the Past (1999)), this gentle comedy-drama was co-written by Wilson with Canadian writer Peter Torokvei (Back to School (1986) and Caddyshack II (1988)), and it's unashamedly old-fashioned in it's tone and nature, but it's got a good cast at it's heart, and it manages to pass away the time with no big problems. Doug Chesnic (Nicolas Cage) is a Secret Service agent who takes great pride in his work, however he's spent the last 3 years in rural Ohio guarding former First Lady Tess Carlyle (Shirley MacLaine), which has really tested his patience. Even though Tess is a pillar of the community with ties to diplomacy and charities, she disregards Doug as a security guard, and more of a domestic servant. Just when Doug thinks he's leaving Tess for good, he finds himself assigned to look after her again, which really annoys him. Plus, she manages to slip away from Doug and his security team whenever his guard is lowered, but she really wants Doug around for company as she's lonely. It is a touching and heartfelt comedy, even though it delves into melodrama and action film in the last third, it manages to be quite likeable, and Cage manages to put in a good performance for once against the odds, and you could have imagined this film being made in the 1950's, and it still would have worked.
Super Reviewer
½ February 24, 2014
The premise of the movie (differing opinions between a headstrong political widow and her secret service agents) is good. But the movie struggles in the details - especially in last scenes of the movie.
½ December 26, 2013
Neither funny not clever, just clumsy.
½ December 20, 2013
Likable enough, but rather forgettable.
½ December 15, 2013
This movie advertises itself as a comedy. This is unfortunate because it really isn't funny at all. Nicolas Cage strolls through his part, as a SPIC, coming to the end of his tour of duty to guard the ex-president's wife. Shirley MacLaine comes off better and there are occasional moments of genuine charm. But the movie lacks pace; it drones on from set piece to fumbled set piece. On a quiet Sunday afternoon it might pass the time, but is lacks any real warmth.
October 10, 2013
A not-very-funny Nick Cage comedy. I wanted Raising Arizona, but this was more Driving Miss Daisy.
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