Al Franken: God Spoke

Al Franken: God Spoke


Reviewed by: Dalawsta

Al Franken: Saturday Night Live star extraordinaire; writer, comedian and now, according to him, chosen by God as the proud agent of debunking, conquering and discrediting everything Republican in America in the run up to George Bush's 2005 election.

Clearly this didn't work, but good effort! Having written his book Lies and Lying Liars who Tell them, an excoriating tirade against America's right wing dominance pervading all corners of power, from the media - particularly Fox News - to the Whitehouse, he is out to defend his stance, and more crucially, attack attack attack. Hoping to reach as large an audience as possible he co-founds Air America, a left wing radio station, as a launching pad for his political gospel according to Al Franken. Parrying with all sorts of hard nosed right wingers, Franken unashamedly bashes Fox News' Iraq war statistics, picking them apart like a soldier dismantling a well worn AK47.

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But as well as offending everyone concerned, his killer humour and charm endears him to even the most hard line of Republicans, including writer Ann Coulter who, on a live debate, declares after being asked which past leader she would most like to have been: "FDR, to call off the New Deal." Franken naturally takes it one step further and declares Hitler as his choice but with a view to "perhaps calling off the holocaust, or maybe World War II, but of course keeping the VW car."

Attending parties and functions galore with the sole intention of putting the knife in the Republican camp and drumming up support on his live radio show, he finds himself face to face with one of America's better statesmen, Henry Kissinger. Doing a fine impression of Kissinger, he elicits a smile or two, but more importantly Franken is able to take the platform and in his unique comedic style tear into the reins of power as much as he can before being politely told to beat it.

Backing John Kerry's campaign wholeheartedly, he is absolutely gutted when the results start filtering through to indicate that Bush has claimed a second term. Despite his charm, wit and great sense of fun, you feel a genuine sense of empathy for his cause.

Fighting a similar cause to Michael Moore, who is featured briefly, Franken's campaign seems more genuine and less ostentatious than Moore's concurrent effort. Naturally a crowd pleaser, he manages to rub lots of powerful people up the wrong way but never takes himself nearly as seriously as Moore has. One hilarious scene involves Franken getting his bag caught on the wheel of his swivel chair, something we've all done. Down on his hands and knees wrestling the chair while his entourage are busy researching public polls, this is the comedian Al Franken in full flow.

Al Franken: God Spoke is no great documentary and very few new stones are turned. The usual left wing agendas over minimum wages and health care are well documented, yet these are things that matter to ordinary Americans and are overlooked daily by an administration that puts war top of its agenda. While the disappointment of his loss is clear for all, Franken's spirit and sense of fun continue and his intention to run in politics may or may not be taken seriously. When people like John Kerry fail to reach the masses with their complex secular messages, it's good that people like Franken can liven things up and reach people, even if they're laughed off the stage by the ruling elite.

Reviewed on: 07 Sep 2006
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Saturday night live star Al Franken takes on Republican America on live radio during the last presidential campaign.
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Director: Nick Doop, Chris Hegedus

Writer: Saturday night live star Al Franken takes on Republican America on live radio during the last presidential campaign.

Year: 2006

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: US


Leeds 2006
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