Thursday, December 27, 2018


Annapurna Pictures
(R) / 2hrs 12min

It possessed incredible promise.
Too bad politics got in the way.

Had Adam McKay simply made the fictionalized Dick-flavored farce that he seemingly was frothing to make, Vice could have been a rousing romp — for everybody. Conversely, had he focused fully on playing the serious historical bio pic card, the results also could have been impressive. However, by attempting to be clever and pursue the narrative from both angles, the acclaimed director missed a golden opportunity to truly shine. 

The R-rated disclaimer rolling in the first few frames reveals to the "smart" viewers that the filmmakers also are "smart" — implying further that said "smart" viewers might be perceived as less than "smart" if they don't laugh out loud hysterically at everything presented in the film — up to and including the final credits. And they do. It's sorta like watching This Is Spinal Tap in roomful of amateur rock musicians who feel compelled to howl wildly at everything in the film just so that everybody else in the theater knows that they "get it."

Carell, Bale and Rockwell offer superb performances in Vice.

Yes, Vice is a very "smart" film made by very "smart" people, for very "smart" people. And that's precisely why it falls flat. It could have said so much. Unfortunately, its mouth is so full of partisan-peppered pablum, it's unable to articulate much more than, "Republicans are greedy dolts. Democrats aren't."

While the film itself is an exhausting, misguided blunder, Christian Bale delivers an amazing, award-worthy portrayal of former vice president, Dick Cheney. Kudos also are due to Amy Adams as Cheney's wife LynneSam Rockwell as George W. Bush and Steve Carell as former Secretary of DefenseDonald Rumsfeld.

Simply put, Dick Cheney ain't no "Freddie Mercury." In fact, at the time Cheney left office, his public approval rating was at a dismal 13%. Hence, it's difficult to fathom how this film possibly can recoup its $60 million-dollar budget. Aw, who cares — the Hollywood elite got to stick it to dumb ol' dubya and his dimwitted cronies one more time. But in all likelihood, Vice will earn out a considerable chunk once it picks up the "Best Picture" statue at the Oscars in February. And for that, the "smart" people will stand and applaud passionately!

-Christopher Long
(December 2018)

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C'MON! -

(Coming April 7, 2019)

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