Robert Redford looks right for the part—as a naive young idealist drafted for a senatorial campaign he’s meant to lose—but somehow his doughy blandness spreads out and obscures the sharp-edged satire of Jeremy Larner’s Oscar-winning script. He doesn’t seem to be in on the joke, and pretty soon there isn’t a joke: as far as he’s concerned he’s playing Bobby Kennedy. Michael Ritchie still had some sense of structure and proportion when he directed this 1972 film; it’s nowhere near as broad or insistent as his later comedies (Smile, Semi-Tough), and much of it has a pleasing air of accuracy. But Redford’s inability to suggest any irony about himself finally sinks it—it’s the only sanctimonious satire you’ll ever see. With Peter Boyle, Allen Garfield, and Melvyn Douglas. PG, 109 min.