Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Man of the Year continues to occupy my mind. I remain fascinated by how badly it fails at what it purports to be. To clarify, and to add briefly to my comment, it's not that I want Robin Williams' character or the movie to advocate a specific partisan agenda. As Tom points out, that would be disastrous in its own way and also completely wrong for this version of the Straight Talk Politician Comedy. But he could at least have a coherent underlying point of view (like the Daily Show itself) that would elevate the jokes from pointless schtick to something that one might plausibly build a platform on.
Recall that in Jon Stewart's big Crossfire moment, which no doubt inspired this movie, Stewart refused to engage in any jokery at all, save for some pointed name-calling with Tucker Carlson. What is so potentially interesting about the premise in the first place is that satirists have something real to say, and increasingly have the public's ear, so what would happen if one actually got involved? Would that bring real change or would the process corrupt him and turn things into politics as usual? That would be an interesting movie, and it is what this this one, in touting its association with the zeitgeist-capturing Wag the Dog, seems to promise. But based on the trailer itself, the idea appears to be wasted. The way Williams' character avoids saying anything at all is transparently disingenuous, which is exactly the sort of thing the Daily Show (or Colbert Report) would skewer.