Caucus ★★★½

The great thing about politics from an entertainment standpoint is that even the most mundane/trivial events become elevated to an imagined platform of importance, which is of course a great recipe for comedy. So the funniest parts of Caucus aren't Republicans saying dumb/wrong things (even though most of these people are buffoons even by political standards), but the weird stuff on the periphery, like Michele Bachmann telling a voter she was the last person in her third grade class to learn how to tell time, or the subtle implication that Rick Santorum is doggedly staying in a (seemingly) doomed campaign just for the free food.

On a more thought-provoking level, the inherently humanizing documentary format made me wonder about questions like "is it possible to be a decent person but a terrible prospect for governance?" That question is best represented by Santorum, who genuinely seems like a nice guy who loves his family and cares deeply about his faith - I'd never vote for him, and the charge that he's a bigot is pretty unambiguously true, but the movie spends enough time with him that you also see his more presentable sides. Politics is the worst possible environment for human complexity, but it seems to find a way to survive anyway.

This still ends up feeling like junk food, although maybe that's just the inherent nature of political theater. Could have done without the jokey musical cues, though.

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