Al Franken: God Spoke 

Directed by Nick Doob, Chris Hegedus

The intended subject of this documentary may be nasal-voiced comic/pundit Al Franken and his adventures starting from the tragic death of his beloved Senator Paul Wellstone to the aftermath of the disastrous 2004 presidential election, but the current purgatory of American politics unintentionally — and unsurprisingly — emerges as its dominant theme. Unsurprisingly because Franken exemplifies — along with, among others, bitter rival Bill O’Reilly — the schoolyard rhetoric and “make ‘em laugh, make ‘em pissed, just don’t make ‘em think” partisan shouting contests that now pass for our national “dialogue.” The real surprise of God Spoke is that our SNL alumnus seldom even makes ‘em laugh: compared to a spot-on satirist like Steve Colbert (who’s done more than anyone to take O’Reilly down a notch) he’s all self-righteous bluster, with dirty words thrown in to wow high schoolers and fundraiser attendees. Sure, Al can hit back at Republican baddies (Coulter, Hannity), but this perfunctory, hagiographic film proves he and his Air America cohorts have descended to their level — the footage of Franken preparing gloating jokes on the occasion of George Bush’s imminent election defeat is an embarrassing reminder of so much of what went, and continues to go, wrong.
Opens September 13


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