Karl Rove, I Love You (2009)

by | Jul 13, 2009 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Karl Rove, I Love You (2009)

Directors & Lead Actors: Dan Butler & Phil Leirness; cameos by Alec Baldwin & Peter Paige
Studio: Ariztical Entertainment [Release date: July 14, 09]
Color, but no video or audio specs
Language: English, close-captioned
Extras: Commentary by cast & crew, Deleted scenes
Length: 80 minutes
Rating: ***

It’s interesting to receive this at about the same time as having viewed a local theatrical showing of the better mockumentary Courting Condi.  In that hilarious Christopher Guest type of pseudo-documentary a song-writer and maker of music videos featuring himself has an against-all-logic crush on Condileeza Rice.  However, in the end he is dissuaded from his folly by talking to people with whom she came in contact earlier in her career, who have plenty of dirt to report. The film’s use of actual TV footage of Rice in the music videos and elsewhere is hilarious.

This mockumentary is set in the 2004 election year with George Bush still in office, and takes the unreasonable crush plot line in the opposite direction from Courting Condi. Actor Dan Butler (who was a sometime character on TV’s Frasier) is appearing on Broadway in a play with Alec Baldwin. Butler is besieged by a filmmaker who professes a huge admiration for the actor – a trenchant satire on celebrity hype. He agrees to participate as the subject of the filmmaker’s documentary on “an unknown supporting actor.”  However, during a charades party with friends he can’t guess a reference because he’s never heard of Karl Rove. After a tongue-lashing from a friend he begins to research Karl Rove and as a left-of-center liberal Butler decides – with the help of a writer he previously worked with – to mount a stage show exposing Rove as the architect behind an administration of fear and divisiveness. His idea is to shock the voting public and thus ensure John Kerry’s victory!  It turns out Butler physically resembles Rove, which makes the one-man show a possibly promising vehicle.

But the more Butler works on “getting inside” the real Karl Rove and viewing the world thru his eyes, the more enamored with Rove he becomes. His associates and friends become so concerned about his fixation on Rove (he even meets him for lunch) that they stage an intervention to set him straight. Great satire up to this point. But the intervention doesn’t work, and the film should have ended here.  Instead it proceeds into scary conspiracy exploits and perhaps even a suicide, ruining the whole hilarious concept.

 – John Sunier

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