OUR BRAND IS CRISIS
DIRECTED BY David Gordon Green
STARS Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton
The 2005 documentary Our Brand Is Crisis related how James Carville and his team were hired to put candidate Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada over the top in the 2002 Bolivian presidential election. For some reason, the new fictionalization sporting the same title changes names and even a gender, so we’re basically left with Sandra Bullock playing James Carville.
Her character, “Calamity” Jane Bodine, is a political strategist with a rocky resume, but she’s nevertheless up to the challenge of trumpeting a candidate (played by Portuguese actor Joaquim de Almeida of Desperado and Fast Five) who trails in the polls by 28 points, even if the frontrunner is being handled by her sworn enemy, a slick operator with a Cheshire cat grin and the moniker Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton).
Perhaps mindful that he’s working under David Gordon Green, the man who directed Your Highness and The Sitter, scripter Peter Straughan packs the proceedings with numerous moronic interludes, the sort more at home in a broad Will Ferrell comedy than an ostensibly hard-hitting political drama.
Even worse than the frat house humor, though, is the naivety that’s often displayed in this type of picture, where seasoned vets are shocked – shocked, I tell you! – to learn that politicians are crooks and liars (see also Green Zone). Ultimately, the movie’s brand isn’t crisis as much as it’s absurdity.