is a 2020 American political comedy film written and directed by Jon Stewart
. It stars Steve Carell
, Chris Cooper
, Mackenzie Davis
, Topher Grace
, Natasha Lyonne
, and Rose Byrne
. The film follows a Democratic strategist who tries to help a local candidate win an election in a small right-wing town.
Tropes for this movie include:
- An Aesop: America's campaign finance system is broken. As is political news reporting.
- Big Brother Instinct: Mayor Braun protected his brother Ziggy when the latter was about to go to jail for oxycontin abuse. He later feeds a false story about having a love-child when Gary gets his hands on the information so that his little brother won't be disgraced and destroyed.
- Both Sides Have a Point: At the end, Gary and Diana have this. On one hand. he rightly points out that she lied to him and used his resources to pour money into the town. Diana retorts that campaign managers do this all the time, only they roll in and out of town every four years. At least this way, the town benefited.
- Dream Within a Dream: The ending has three of these. It seems that Diana and Gary hooked up only for it to cut into Gary sleeping with the bakery lady and then he's actually daydreaming while sharing an apartment with Faith.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: It's revealed that Braun and Jack were working together on Diana's idea to bring more money to the town, save the base and the school. They earned enough to do so and pulled strings so that Diana became the new mayor. Even though Gary is disappointed and impressed that they pulled one over him and Faith, he's at least still at his job, if a little humbler, and sleeping with Faith.
- Foreshadowing: The bakery lady keeps pressing free sweets into Gary's hands and refusing payment. She was in on the plot to bring in campaign money and was keeping Gary happy.
- Graceful Loser: Faith at least is this when she finds out the town worked to make the campaign a big deal and end up in Gary's hands. She's also amused they pulled it off.
- Not an Act: Even when we learn Diana staged the whole event, it turns out Jack is not good at public speaking. He can't smarm up or charm people with grandiose words. (Donors do like his honesty, or so it seems.)
- Obfuscating Stupidity: It turns out everyone in town put on an aura of being an ignorant hick to lure Gary into a false sense of complacency. Suffice to say, it worked.
- Once More, with Clarity!: We find out at the end that the "viral" video was actually staged and required multiple takes because Jack is not a good speaker.
- Relative Error: Invoked by the mayor. He feeds Gary a story that he has an illegitimate child, and there photos of them together. The news later learns that the girl was his niece.
- Was It All a Lie?: Gary soberly tells Diana that he thought they had something. She points out some Reality Ensues; she is 28 and he's in his fifties. That age gap is too huge to ignore.