Directed by Nick Doob and Chris Hegedus
Running Time: 1:30
I generally like Al Franken. I've read, I believe, most of his books and usually find them entertaining. He is a comedian
by trade after all, but a thoughtful one who does his research. As a fellow Democrat, it's fun reading along as he takes
apart Republicans piece by piece. Of course he's doing the same thing they do to Democrats, but I know enough to
understand that each side will do whatever they can to make the other side look stupid. It's all part of this game we
call politics. Sometimes it's hard to differentiate between what's real and what Franken is making up for the sake of
comedy, but I'ma lso smart enough to figure that out as well. And so, every book he publishes, I pick up from the
library, read over the court of a few nights, and feel good about myself.
The problem with Al Franken: God Spoke, the movie version of the same thing,
is, well... Franken looks kinda geeky. As an actor in movies and on TV, being a geek isn't a big deal, because you
can tailor characters around who you really are. But in politics, the more ridiculous you look, the less likely someone
will take you seriously. Add in the fact that most people know him first as a comedian, your first reaction to anything
he says is to laugh. It's only when you realize what he said that you know you're supposed to boo or cheer or just
remain thoughtful. When you see him in and amongst politicians, he looks like the little brother who wants to hang out
with his big brother and all his friends. He kind of scurries along behind them, throwing jabs at them, trying to get
them to react. His clothes look like they don't fit correctly, while most Senators dress like they should be in GQ. In
politics, at least in my opinion, how you look seems to carry a lot of weight with voters. George Bush aside of course.
The more powerful you look, the more seriously people take you. Franken, with his goofy glasses and smile that makes his eyes look like they're closed, doesn't
appear powerful and on screen in this documentary, it's hard to take him seriously.
Not that I don't once again agree with his viewpoint, it's just that every time he opens his mouth to speak, I keep
waiting for Stuart Smalley to pop out (and that's, OK.) And when you add in the fact that this documentary was shot
before the 2004 Presidential election, everything feels very outdated. It's also a little sad seeing how Franken and his
team really believe that John Kerry was going to win, only to have him soundly defeated in the end. It's entertaining
watching him and Ann Coulter or Bill O'Reilly go after each other because I truly believe Franken can outsmart and
outwit both of them. But again, their guy won the election two years ago, so watching them attack each other now
seems like old news. I didn't realize Franken had been talking about running for Senator in his home state of
Minnesota, so that was new news, but based on his look and his part, I fear his ability to actually win.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, Al Franken: God Spoke is a sometimes entertaining documentary,
but one that feels outdated. Franken can be good for some funny moments but watching him and reading him are two
completely different things, and I would stick with his books.
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