“Bulworth” is a political comedy that lies somewhere between clever and absurdity (but closer to absurdity). The concept is clever: a suicidal politician is beyond caring about the façade required to gain campaign contributions and to win an election, so he becomes truthful in the most politically incorrect ways possible. The cast list also indicates greatness with Warren Beatty and Halle Berry in the starring roles, as well as Oliver Platt, Don Cheadle, and Larry King in supporting roles. However, there is a disconnect between the expectation and the execution. From “Bonnie and Clyde” to “Dick Tracy,” I approach Beatty’s films with a high expectation. His name frequently appears on the Oscar ballot from a directing and acting standpoint, but he doesn’t generally get there by dressing up in gangster clothes and rapping during a political debate. I know that anything usually goes in a comedy but if I listed half of the things that happen in this movie, you would dismiss it immediately. I believe that a combination of comedy and drama could have made this film believable while exploring the concept in a lighthearted way. Instead, the story is over the top, we feel no empathy towards the characters, and the story feels like the same gag over and over again. I absolutely disagree with its Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. The script works against the story, sacrificing intellectual satire in favor of relentless profanity. The rapping was a comical plot device and I understand that there are parts of the story that require strong language to make the content believable; however, the language was often unnecessary and I longed for a momentary break. Whether it is an impassioned political interview or the background music in the club, this movie is a never ending stream of f-words. Profanity with the sole intention of creating shock value never resonates well with me and, even though this film has some interesting moments, the profanity is the only thing that will stick with me. Even though the critics liked it, I am not surprised that Beatty hasn’t directed a film since this one wrapped nearly 20 years ago. Watching him rap about politics feels like watching his acting career and Bulworth’s political career both reaching a symbolic level of absurdity. I suppose that many people “get” this film in a way that I don’t, but “Bulworth” seems like a waste of talent and a waste of time.
[Pictured: Need I say more?]