By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
is such an odd, political dramedy that it’s likely to puzzle and startle both right and left political parties.
Directed and written by Adam McKay,
(“The Big Short”) “Vice” feels more like a documentary and at times a SNL parody of a political documentary.
Other times “Vice” doesn’t seem to quite know what it wants to be with its scattershot storytelling approach.
Perhaps, that’s McKay’s intent, but it doesn’t hold up as well as it should.
However, one thing that most everyone will agree on is that Christian Bale
(“Hostiles”) is sensational as former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Bale underwent a complete transformation here including packing on some 40 pounds and capturing Cheney’s look under heavy make-up and prosthetics. The guy’s even got Cheney’s trademark scowl and smirk down pat.
While Bale is fascinating to watch as Cheney in “Vice,” the movie as a whole isn’t. Cheney comes off even colder and duller in the film as he projects in real life. He’s just not all that interesting. Pus, the film doesn’t unveil any new juicy information on him that we didn’t know about before.
Even when the film touches on the supportive relationship with his gay daughter Mary (Allison Pill, TV’s “American Horror Story”), it feels shoehorned among the jam-packed storyline.
The film zig-zags through Cheney’s life starting from the early 1960s, when he was young and flunked out of Yale University and was arrested twice for drunk driving.
Cheney’s high school sweetheart Lynne Vincent (a fantastic Amy Adams, “Justice League”) intervenes and tells him to straighten up or else she’s gone. Cheney does and later winds up branching into politics as an intern.
The opportunistic and power-hungry Cheney, also gets a gig with the Office of Economic Opportunity, headed by Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell, “Beautiful Boy”).
He continues to climb his way up the ranks and eventually next to former President George W. Bush who is played to near perfection by Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”).
While “Vice” touches on Cheney’s role in the invasion of Iraq, Halliburton, his bizarre bird hunting trips and other questionable policy decisions, the movie never quite gets a firm grip on Cheney the man. “Vice” goes all over the place, and occasionally has some humorous moments.
There’s a story here, but director/screenwriter Adam McKay piles too much on and it overshadows the heart and soul of the message. And the stunt with narrator Jesse Plemons (“Game Night”) is misguided as well.
Other characters such as Tyler Perry as a striking Colin Powell and Lisa Gay Hamilton (“Beautiful Boy”) channeling former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, are interesting, but have limited screen time.
“Vice” doesn’t have the coolness, cleverness and boldness like McKay’s 2015 movie, “The Big Short.” That one was brilliant.
Aside from the incredible transformation of Christian Bale and Sam Rockwell, “Vice” is just pretty good.
I will be enjoying the Christmas And New Year's Holidays and return on air Friday, Jan. 11 for my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show (KFBK 1530 AM and 93.1 FM).
But, You Can Still Check Out This Trailer For "VICE "
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of The Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The Alliance Of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.