Vice Is Must Recommended Movie

“Vice” about VP Dick Cheney (it’s not a Biopic, it’s a Dick Pic), was written and directed by Adam McKay, who created the similar theme “The Big Short. However, McKay is better known as the author of SNL, who became the main collaborator of Will Ferrell and directed him in “Anchorman” (and its sequel), “Talladega Nights”, “Step Brothers” and “The Other Guys”.””Vice” shows both sides of McKay’s personality: the outspoken liberal and the guy whose heart is still in “Saturday Night Live”.”

You see that last influence in “Vice” in the way McKay is so worried that everyone sees the role. Christian Bale got fat, wore a lot of makeup and did a credible Dick Cheney impersonation… but he never seems to be anything other than Christian Bale in a Dick Cheney suit. Sam Rockwell, who bears a temporary resemblance to George W. Bush, who could have played perfectly without cosmetic help, gets a sharp prosthetic nose, a reflection of the “SNL” mentality of the last 30 years, where the most important element of a celebrity impersonation is getting the right look. This works well for a comedy sketch, but not if you are trying to portray fully developed characters.

Which, let’s face it, McKay didn’t try. “Vice” is often hilarious and inventive in its depiction of Cheney’s rise from tipsy Yale to machiavellian puppeteer/war delinquent. Like “The Big Short,” it has flights of fantasy on the fourth wall, including a scene where Cheney and his equally power-hungry wife Lynne (Amy Adams) fall into a mocking Shakespeare dialogue a la “Macbeth.”But amused outrage is all McKay can offer.

He has no insight into Cheney’s personality beyond the not surprising fact that he truly loves his family, and no views on America’s actions after the 11th. Very little about “Vice” is news to anyone who’s been paying attention over the last 20 years, and it’s not synthesized into anything more than surface enjoyment-which is only a problem insofar as McKay thinks he’s doing more than that.

Recounting Jesse Plemons as a young man whose connection with Cheney I’m not going to spoil for you (it’ll make your eyes roll), “Vice” begins with the high-pitched tone of a Michael Moore movie, the kind where even people who agree with the general message say, “Hey, buddy, put it down a little.”We jump between the early days of Cheney, toads for the belligerent Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell) and his vice presidency, which he was pursuing because he knew Bush was an empty ship, it would treat him hard things (foreign policy, domestic policy, etc.). There’s an unintentionally follish moment when 27-year-old Cheney becomes a congressional intern for the first time and is played by the same 44-year-old Bale as the 2000s Cheney, which reminds me of the joke in “Walk Hard” where 14-year-old Dewey Cox plays John C. Reilly.

It is fascinating to see Lynne Cheney play such a central role in her husband’s life. She fought for him in 1978 while he was recovering from a heart strike, and did more with his nice, likeable appearance to elect him to the House of Representatives than he could have done with his own grumpy self. It’s Lynne who chews on him because he’s a sad tipsy — early on in the Film, in what would normally be the turning point of the third act – and inspires him to get sober. “I will never disappoint you again,” he says. The dark Irony is that he doesn’t: every despicable thing he does afterwards pleases him immensely. His story is also really yours.

Another nice touch: at the end of “Anchorman,” Steve Carell’s “mentally retarded” character, Brick Tamland, after became “One of the best advisers in the Bush White House”—and now Carell is playing Donald Rumsfeld. That’s probably the reason he’s been busy, even though he’s doing a useful job in the role (of course, under a ton of makeup, so we don’t think he’s really playing this character).

This review sounds negative, and the film is complacent and flat, but I enjoyed it. It’s just frustrating that McKay used his considerable comedic talents to tackle a subject on which he didn’t have a particular point of view: “Wow, what kind of burden was that guy, huh?”He’s all fired, with no way to channel his anger beyond the apparent, unnecessary-good for a few laughs and nothing more, just like “SNL” usually is.

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