Vice ★★½

“The war is yours.”

UK-born Christian Bale tries to portray Dick Cheney as told by Adam McKay. The story is intercut with random footage that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. McKay should get over himself. The intersplicing isn’t even witty half the time; it’s just moments that overstay their welcome and contribute to a swollen runtime. Every time Cheney has a heart attack, it’s the least dramatic thing in the movie. Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell) talks over Colin Powell (Tyler Perry) in a deadly serious conversation which goes to show just how screwed up McKay is as a director when it comes to tone. This was a huge problem for me when I saw The Big Short as well. There are all these comedic actors. Dramatic scenes are made to be comedic to play to his strengths. So when something serious occurs, is it just a misfire? Or is something else completely amiss here?

LBJ starring Woody Harrelson, for example, was a great example of a solid political comedy which unfortunately went way under the radar this year. Compared to Rob Reiner’s film about the Bush administration, Shock and Awe (that was just plain boring), Vice fares better interest-wise. For the most part, the makeup department went out of their way to make sure they actors looked like the people they portrayed. But Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush was totally wrong resemblance-wise. Then we have the pictures of real subjects interspersed with pictures of the actors, which reminds me of this year’s Gotti - they did the same thing and it was one of the weakest decisions of a film that really tanked.

In addition, the movie painted regular folks as idiots who just want to talk about “Justin and Kelly” and The Fast and the Furious movies. George W. Bush also was portrayed as an imbecile with Cheney as the sinister brainchild behind his administration and the Iraq War as well. One interesting idea that was explored was the unitary executive theory. But hey, let’s not give Trump any ideas. If he watches this film, he might be inspired to press that red button. I don’t think that was McKay’s intention, but then again, I’m not sure what was.

Random credit:
Video Assist: Anthony Perkins

Vegan alert:
-Fishing and lots of it
-Reference to brisket and bologna
-Chicken wings (George W. Bush scene)
-Flash of steak
-Scene with mac and cheese
-Lynne (Amy Adams) is told milk thickens it

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