Mister America Oct 15, 2019 13:48:11 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Oct 15, 2019 13:48:11 GMT -5
Mister America (2019)
Directed by: Eric Notarnicola
Directed by: Eric Notarnicola
I admire Tim Heidecker's hustle and his ability to subvert the concept of comedy with many surrealist diversions. That doesn't mean I have to like it. Frankly, I find most of his projects unenjoyable. Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job was an endurance test of patience with its cringe-inducing attempts at humor, and Heidecker's last "major" star-vehicle, The Comedy, was much more fun to discuss than watch. Mister America is a faux vérité mockumentary that's as inert and low-energy as Heidecker's character. As a satire about an incompetent bloke with no people nor political skills trying to run for a major office, it's painfully clear that we're watching this all unfold in America in real time; we don't need a schlocky, hastily made film about a contemptible cad with nothing meaningful to say.
Mister America is an extension of Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington's Adult Swim webshow On Cinema at the Cinema, a Siskel & Ebert-esque parody featuring the two playing fictionalized versions of themselves as amateur movie critics. The show is marginally amusing, but when it got too wrapped up in its own cult following, catering to their social media obsessions by inventing wacky subplots for episodes that distracted from the nostalgia at hand, it became desperate, in my eyes. One of the most ambitious events On Cinema and its two stars ever did was a week-long, fictionalized trial of Heidecker, who was accused of committing second degree murder after several young people were poisoned to death at an EDM festival thanks to vape juice he allegedly sold them. The "trial" was streamed online, and to be honest, it's an exercise in comic prowess and concept-driven art.
That plotline from the "On Cinema Universe," as it's known, carries over to Mister America, which has Heidecker (again, playing a broadly drawn, fictionalized caricature of himself) running for San Bernardino District Attorney. Filmed like a "ride along" look at Heidecker's inept campaign trail, we follow his misbegotten attempt to unseat Vincent Rossetti (Don Pecchia), an immigrant his opponent constantly refers to as a "rat." Heidecker's platform? Running on the promise of effectively eliminating crime from the streets of San Bernardino and bringing the area back to "the good ol' days." Plagued by reminders of the EDM fiasco, which he callously brushes off as nothing, and an incompetent, wino campaign manager (Terri Parks) — the hung juror who acquitted him in the aforementioned trial — Heidecker's bid for D.A. is an abject disaster. It's a trainwreck that only becomes compounded by the presence of Gregg Turkington, who shows up at various points throughout, humorously donning hats promoting forgotten films (i.e. The Time Machine, Two for the Money) and spitting on Heidecker's image.
While there are bad laughs to be had by Heidecker, entirely unaware of himself, waywardly wandering into businesses run by people of color to hawk his very far-right agenda, they're far too uncommon. The problem is Heidecker's lethargic cadence and personality, and the fact that Mister America was shot in three days, make this project feel like an impulsive afterthought. There is a laziness that hovers over the film like a cloud of smog, and this story doesn't give us any memorable satire of narcissistic, self-centered individuals running for public office. The grand finale at Heidecker's sparsely attended town-hall which ends in a hallway blowup between him and his manager doesn't provide any great realizations, let alone quality comedy. I hate to say it, but Donald Trump rallies are more entertaining and provide more comedic value, if scarily so.
Starring: Tim Heidecker, Gregg Turkington, Terri Parks, and Don Pecchia. Directed by: Eric Notarnicola.