Protocol tells the story of Sunny (Goldie Hawn, playing a variation of her simple-minded persona that ingratiated her to many since she appeared on Laugh-In), a Washington D.C. cocktail waitress, whose actions leads to notoriety and a job with the U.S. State Department. The movie has moments where it seems like it wants to be a satire of politics and the media, but its critiques are blunted to allow Hawn to stand out as a comedienne.
Sunny is struggling to get by. She has an unreliable car, is not happy with her job where some patrons think the bar also serves as an escort service, and is dating a jerk who just wants to stop by for sex. One night while passing a gala event, she thwarts the assassination attempt of an Emir from the Middle Eastern country Ohtar, taking a bullet in the backside for her troubles.
She becomes a celebrity, especially after a press conference where she comes across as a sweet, all-American girl. Her popularity leads to her being asked to join the Protocol Department at the State Department. After looking up the word “protocol” in the dictionary, she accepts, and it doesn't take long for her to show she's not entirely the dumb blonde she appears to be. However, the State Department and the Emir have other plans for Sunny, which not only upset her when she learns of them, but leads to a revolution within Othar.
This movie brings to mind other films where an honest citizen trumps the schemes of the cynical, like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. The story could have been a lot darker than how the plot plays out considering the potential outcome for Sunny had the State Department's plans come to fruition. This would have allowed for commentary about the policies and ethics of those working in the U.S. Government. Instead, we get scenes that allow Hawn to be silly, intending to provoke laughs instead of thoughts.
Protocol is part of the Warner Archive Collection. For fans who like Goldie being Goldie, she takes part in mildly amusing antics, but the outcome is rather predictable. The scenes that point out the absurdity of the media shows the movie could have offered something more substantial, causing some disappointment in the overall results, so expectations need to be tempered.