It is hard to find a political satire that works. Real politics has to be much stranger and amusing than what a writer can come up with. Case in point is Mark Sanford, a disgraced governor of South Carolina. He announced that he will run for Congress.
Finding a satire that is funny is hard. Finding one that works and gets the audience’s interest is harder. To appreciate a good satire, your attention must be on it all the time. You must also pay attention to the world around you.
This is the reason why Armando Iannucci’s In the Loop got the critics’ praises but was not embraced by moviegoers. The same can be said about David Mamet and Barry Levinson’s Wag the Dog, which is a phrase that is used by lots of people but haven’t seen the movie. Wag the Dog made money but it is hard to find a person below 40 who has actually saw it.
Bill Guttentag’s Knife Fight is a political satire that opened January 25. You need to have good material in order to reach a wide audience. One of the funniest and realistic satires of behind-the-scenes of an election was Game Change, which was based on the true story behind the selection of Sarah Palin as the vice president candidate in 2008. It was wilder and more mind boggling than what Guttentag imagined in Knife Fight.
The movie is about a cynic who finds his inner idealist. Paul Turner (Rob Lowe) creates campaign strategy and tactics for several candidates across the nation. All of them face reelection challenges in the coming months.
There’s the Southern governor (Eric McCormack) who is a ladies man; an incumbent senator (David Harbour) who is rumored to be fooling around; and a politically inexperienced pediatrician (Carrie Moss) who believes she can fix the flaws in the health care system if she becomes governor of California.
Knife Fight is a bad political satire. Comedy is dry and the cast made up of aging TV stars.