August 21, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

STARRING Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Thora Birch, Chris Klein

DIRECTED BY Alexander Payne

Ferris Bueller’s going back to school, but this time he’s on the other team. ”I didn’t even make the connection when I read the script,” says Broderick, who plays a high school history teacher in this $8.5 million comedy centered on a student-council presidential race. ”When someone pointed it out to me, I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, duh.’ But this time I get to be like [principal] Ed Rooney.”’ Payne — who’s never even seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off — is best known for making us laugh at a pregnant, glue-sniffing woman (played by Laura Dern) who gets swept up in an abortion-rights war in 1996’s Citizen Ruth. But don’t expect social satire in Payne’s sophomore effort. ”Election explores the sad and pathetic parts of people’s lives that you just have to laugh about,” he says. (Oct. 30)

THE LOWDOWN If this one’s as good as Citizen Ruth, we’ll forgive Broderick for Godzilla.

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