I grew up watching episodes of Monty Python and Red Dwarf on PBS. Reruns, of course, I’m not old enough to have been able to enjoy them in their prime. But they showed me the joys of British humor. It’s a very dry, satirical endeavor but can suddenly take the turn into the ridiculous.
This is a mockumentary that isn’t clear that it’s a mockumentary. There’s none of those moments where people are sitting interview style and talking to the camera or sometimes the director, or any voice-over narration. It feels more like “just another movie” that’s shot on shaky cam that does a good job of parodying the politics behind the Iraq war going on at the time.
I’m a fan of British humor, but sometimes it can be too dry. It’s done slightly too deadpan and somehow this makes it horrible. I don’t know, there’s something I’ve never really found too funny about just being awkward, it needs something there to push it into the realm of hilarity that doesn’t quite work when I just feel bad for the characters. Maybe British people really like this humor, but as a personal preference, I just don’t get it. This only happens a few times throughout the film but it really drags down a scene when the jokes don’t fly.
Being that this is a parody of politicians, there’s a lot of politics in it. I think if you’re not at least a bit politically savvy you probably wouldn’t enjoy this movie as much. I’m not entirely savvy myself and there were a few jokes that went over my head but I still enjoyed it despite this.
I like the juxtaposition mosts characters share in this movie between being a politician that you see on TV and what is usually an angry person trying really hard to keep their life from falling apart and not always succeeding. Like most mockumentaries, the characters make this movie. If they weren’t hilarious and fun to watch the film would fall apart. Luckily, the characters are the best part of this film.
This movie is a slow burn, the jokes take a bit to really get going. Most mockumentaries are like this because it relies so much on having good characters that we need to learn all the characters and what they’re like in order to really get the jokes. Sometimes, this makes the first half-hour of a mockumentary funnier on a second viewing but not always. Being this is the first time I’ve seen this movie I can’t really comment on that.
Why you should watch it before you die: Though I did enjoy this movie, and it does do a good job of parodying politicians during the time period, I don’t don’t think this really needs to be watched before you die. There’s just better films in the genre and better movies about the war.