Mister America


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Tim Heidecker in Mister America
"There's no additional wit here, no insider perspective and no investment in character."

It is often said of today's political environment that it has ruined the careers of satirists. It is simply too difficult, now, to distinguish between exaggeration and reality. Campaign trail mockumentary Mister America is the perfect illustration of this problem. It takes a certain genius to find fresh insights and this, well, this is just okay. If you don't have something more important to do, like washing dishes or emptying bins.

A spin-off from Adult Swim series On Cinema At The Cinema, Mister America follows a (further) fictionalised version of series host Tim Heidecker who is running for the office of District Attorney in San Bernardino despite having no legal training and not living in San Bernardino. The campaign run is primarily an act of revenge against incumbent Vincent Rosetti (Don Pecchia), who prosecuted our erstwhile hero for murder after an incident in which 18 music festival attendees died from using poisoned vaping equipment. Having no real policy ideas, Heidecker has decided to focus on the idea that he's tough on crime - vote for him and he'll wipe out 100% of crime. He's also anti-corruption. And he has a beard, because his researchers tells him that voters like beards.

Copy picture

There are a handful of series in-jokes here, notably in the sections where series co-host Gregg Turkington appears to try to make it all about himself or turn the subject to cinema, so viewers who have already been primed to laugh at these may find that its has its moments. For everyone else, it's likely to be about as exciting as one of Heidecker's beige suits. The problem with its focus on spin, poorly prepared speeches and empty rhetoric is that viewers can see all that for free any time they turn on the television. There's no additional wit here, no insider perspective and no investment in character. Most of what we're presented with was improvised and that's what it looks like - a small group of not particularly charismatic actors winging it. Occasionally such methods produce great art. This is what happens the rest of the time.

Ironically, Mister America may very well contribute to a reduction in crime in the real world. People illegally downloading it are likely to see the error of their ways.

Reviewed on: 14 Nov 2019
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Mister America packshot
After representing himself and beating a murder charge, a concert promoter runs for the San Bernardino District Attorney's office against the prosecutor of his case.

Director: Eric Notarnicola

Writer: Tim Heidecker, Eric Notarnicola

Starring: Tim Heidecker, Gregg Turkington, Terri Parks, Curtis Webster, Don Pecchia, Manuel Giusti

Year: 2019

Runtime: 89 minutes

Country: US


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