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W.

Written by Reg Henry on .

I saw W. Saturday night, the film, not the president. Unless you are desperate for a date, I would advise staying home and making your own popcorn.

I was mildly entertained in a Tina-Fey sort of way, enjoying the spectacle of watching actors impersonate real people. In that regard, the film did a good job with the characters of George W. (at least in accent and body language, not so much in looks), George Tenet, Paul Wolfowitz, Condi Rice (except for her voice) and Karl Rove (spot on, I thought). Its actors were un-persuasive in catching the looks of George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush. Laura Bush, while not so dissimilar from the original Mrs. B., never grew old during the film. Faux British PM Tony Blair was pretty bad, although he did sound like him.

One reviewer said that the film couldn't decide whether it was dealing with history or parody and alternated between the two.

I agree, but my main objection was that I didn't learn anything much, and what little I did learn I couldn't trust.

It was the familiar tragedy: A frat-boy goof leads the life of a ne're-do-well drunk but finally becomes sober, gets religion and decides to parlay his famous name into a career in politics because he can. Predictably, bad things happen to the country.

The film does make W. relatively sympathetic but he has always had his empty-headed charm for his undemanding supporters, so no surprise there either. As for the family tensions that animate the drama, anybody who has ever read a Maureen Dowd column knows about that.

Nobody in my group of six really liked the film - the best I can say is that it kept me interested, although it dragged for most of the others in the group.

I was left wondering what audience Oliver Stone made this film for. Not right-wing, see-no-evil monkeys - they will put their paws over their eyes. Not the left-wing true believers either - they wanted to see Bush look evil, whereas he only looked incompetent.

 

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