Mark Reviews Movies

Mister America


2 Stars (out of 4)

Director: Eric Notarnicola

Cast: Tim Heidecker, Terri Parks, Gregg Turkington, Don Pecchia, Manuel Giusti

MPAA Rating: R (for language and some drug use)

Running Time: 1:29

Release Date: 8/9/19 (limited)

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Review by Mark Dujsik | October 9, 2019

Mister America is its own movie, in that screenwriters Tim Heidecker (who also stars), Eric Notarnicola (who also directed), and Gregg Turkington (who also plays a version of himself) tell a story from start to finish. It's also the next chapter of a pretty complicated narrative, spanning across various media and centering on an internet show dedicated to movie reviews. The gag is that Heidecker, as a character named Tim Heidecker, isn't particularly interested in movies, but he is a narcissist interested in boosting his own ego.

To make a long story short, Tim—the character and not Heidecker, the performer—killed about 20 people at a music festival he ran, when he gave out vaping devices with a lethal cocktail of chemicals. He was prosecuted, and the result was a mistrial. Now, he's running for the office of district attorney in the county where the trial took place, in order to get back at the man who dared to prosecute him for multiple crimes he almost certainly committed.

All of this back story has been portrayed in various sketches and series over the past eight years. For those who might not have known that this long-running gag even existed, this movie does provide a succinct summary. The isolated plot here, portrayed as a faux documentary, follows Tim as he tries to mount a doomed election campaign in about two weeks.

When it isn't folding in on itself to continue and explain the drama of the larger narrative, there is some amusing satire, as well as seemingly real-world pranks (getting stores and restaurants to display a campaign sign saying, "We have a rat problem"), on display. The main joke is that Tim doesn't really care about political office, but he certainly cares about petty revenge and having his sense of self-worth affirmed. It never is, because he's such a transparently despicable person, so his only answer is wanting more revenge.

Not too long into this movie, though, one realizes that the filmmakers don't have much to say about the character, who just keeps digging himself into a deeper hole of anger and insignificance, or politics. It's nice that Mister America doesn't further ostracize those who are out of the loop, but the comedy here is so half-realized that it probably won't make anyone want to catch up with almost a decade of previous material.

Copyright © 2019 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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