Guarding Tess Review

It’s time for a fun secret service comedy about how hard it can be to guard someone who doesn’t really respect you. Guarding Tess is a film I didn’t really know about beforehand but after seeing it I can definitely see the appeal. It’s a fun movie all the way through with a fairly small cast so it’s more about the banter. Doug really takes the hits in stride and even when he does inevitably have his blowup moment of standing up to Tess, he does it in a much more constructive way than most leads would. Ultimately he is a big part of why the movie is good.

The movie starts off by introducing us to Doug as a secret service guy who is really good at what he does. He used to even guard the president directly but unfortunately he is now stuck guarding the first lady to a previous president. He doesn’t find the job very satisfying or fulfilling and is really eager to get back to the more important jobs. Unfortunately on his last day when he is supposed to leave Tess contact the president and extends the service to another 3 years. Doug is not happy about this but if he declines then his chances of guarding the president again is pretty much 0. He needs to convince Tess to let him go but how will he do that?

Of course Doug didn’t like this assignment but clearly Tess liked him enough to want him to stay. Basically we find out that this was a power move to an extent as Doug was the only one who would hold his ground against Tess. At least to the degree that he could. See, the movie does a good job of showing just how helpless you are when you’re not in the union and serving someone who could get you fired at a moment’s notice. If Doug ever stands up to her too much then he will be next on the chopping block so it’s really not an easy move for him. He does his best though and Tess seems to take it as a personal challenge to try and break him.

Of course by the end she gets better with this but for most of the film she is absolutely just being as mean to him as possible. She is really spoiled and really just likes to do things her way even if it means forcing Doug and his men to break protocol whenever it suits her. Not the most generous thing to do eh? Well that’s basically her style. Ultimately it also means that she does the equivalent of crying wolf a whole lot which makes it extra tough on the team. They get humiliated in front of the local cops as well when she forces the driver Earl to take her away without the secret service in the car. Her tricks and pranks take a whole lot out of Doug.

It also makes the response time at the end a lot slower since they don’t know there is a real risk for a little while. While most of the film is a full comedy, it does suddenly get very serious near the end. We get a kidnapping and everything which did feel a little out of place but I’m always up for some action. The villains are all throwaway characters who we don’t learn much about. They’re just crazy I suppose. The villain who set everything up was definitely the worst one though as he made a lot of excuses at the time but still followed the mission. That just means he’s a bad guy but also spineless.

Doug really got to prove himself in the end though and show why he was a top secret service agent. He’s definitely someone who will do his best at all times. The standout character here had to be the President though. Whenever he ended up calling it made for a great scene. You always knew that Doug was about to be in a whole world of trouble. The president always talked tough and I really liked his mannerisms. He was an important guy and he knew it. Even when he was hurling threats, he always did them in a very subtle way so you couldn’t be exactly sure of what he was saying and then all of a sudden you knew that it was legit. Yeah he was definitely a lot of fun.

At the end of the day the film succeeds with how comedic it is. The setup is fairly unique and just works really well with Doug sort of living out his worst nightmare but trying to stay professional about it. I love all of the sarcasm used throughout the movie. He always has attitude about Tess’ orders and just has to make sure he does a good job of showing it or it’s all over. That’s something that he can’t really take lightly. Of course the rest of the agents love the gig because they’re being paid well to not have to do much at all.

It’s the difference between liking your job and loving it. When you like your job, you’re cool with just doing it and going home. If it’s easy then that’s all the better but Doug really loves his job and so he wants to be challenged and have to rise to the occasion. There is no challenge or skills to be honed on this mission and that’s really his big problem. It’s also what makes the comedy work since he’s so frustrated the whole time. Ultimately the climax could have probably been averted if he had stayed true to the book for just a bit longer. Ultimately though he gets to see the benefits of this guard detail as well and Tess lightens up so you have to imagine that things will be going much more smoothly in the future.

Overall, Guarding Tess is a pretty fun movie. The main dynamic between Doug and Tess is what really sells the movie. There is just a whole lot to unpack there and the amount of times Doug quite only to have to go back there was intense. It is certainly tough when the president himself is calling to put more pressure on you. I don’t think anybody really looks forward to receiving a threatening call from the President like that. It’s enough to make anybody real nervous right away. The film certainly shifts tones at the end but you should have a good time with both halves and this is one that I’d recommend.

Overall 7/10


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