Top positive review
Reviewed in the United States on January 12, 2021
Political comedies often fall flat in the years after their release, and especially since the Trump era the genre has been a wasteland, but this one is a rare gem. The first time I saw this, I was a bit young. Just getting into politics, it wasn't the kind of movie I'd typically have bothered with. Ended up checking it out off a glowing review, and upon revisiting it years later it's fascinating how much it formed my political outlook at the time. Rewatching as a proper adult, so much more of the humor shines through. None of it is particularly groundbreaking insight, but it's solid comedy just based on the irony of what is there right in front of us. At once it lets you feel nostalgic for the way politics used to be, the almost-simplicity of it's corruption and amorality, and reminds you that politics was never good. Especially with how open the joke is of American politics these days, it's almost like a knowing nudge at the future in retrospect.
Meta-appreciation aside, the movie itself is a lot of fun. The gags are all pretty highbrow, the political jabs are at the system, not partisanship, so it holds up well even as the nicotine industry has moved onto brighter pastures with vaping. For antiheroes, they even do a decent job of representing some of the genuine issues from the side of the lobbyists, if a bit tongue in cheek with the delivery. The story is compelling, but it never loses the levity of the concept. It's a strange movie to be what it is and still be watchable all these years later, but it works. Perfectly cast, fun, but not stupid. Movies like it are few and far between.