Bombshell

Bombshell ★★★½

"Ask yourself what would scare my grandmother or piss off my grandfather, and that's a Fox story." ~ Jess Carr

Just looking at the all-star cast here, I really had high hopes of something along the lines of "Spotlight" (2015), with muck-raking of sexual indiscretions among powerful men who should know better. But no. The story just isn't there, and although there can be little doubt that the brave women of Fox News helped get sexual harassment into the... er... spotlight, it's just not that sensational or even surprising. A documentary might have served the topic better, methinks.

But to review the film as it is, let's say director Jay Roach and the actors manage to take this Charles Randolph script up half a notch higher than any of the writer's previous three films I have seen. Charlize Theron rocks her role as powerful anchorwoman Megyn Kelly, well deserving of her Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama. Nicole Kidman hangs in there as embattled news show host Gretchen Carlson, and Margot Robbie proves she's worthy of standing with these two goddesses of cinema in her part as naive, ambitious, ultra-conservative Fox newcomer Kayla Pospisil, earning her a Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe nomination.

But the men in this film are no less worthy of praise, especially John Lithgow playing lecherous Fox founder Roger Ailes and a surprise cameo by Malcolm McDowell as Fox's Australian owner Rupert Murdoch. Also headlining this amazing ensemble are Kate McKinnon as the closeted Fox lesbian Jess Carr, the wonderful Allison Janney as Ailes' lawyer Susan Estrich, former Mumblecore regular Mark Duplass as Kelly's supportive husband Doug Brunt, Connie Britton as Ailes' wife Beth, and Robin Weigert as Carlson's lawyer Nancy Smith. Also look for fine look-alikes playing Rudy Giuliani, Bill O'Reilly, Geraldo Rivera and Sean Hannity.

All of the action takes place during the run-up to the GOP nomination of Donald Trump for President at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July 2016. I'm no fan of Fox or the GOP, so I didn't mind a bit seeing both organizations taken to task. But again, as cinema, this story just barely cuts it. Watch it for the fine acting, nothing more.

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