Warren Beatty has done all sorts of roles, and with the possibility of him running for President in early 2000, it's no surprise that he is playing the role of Senator Jay Bulworth. Of course, he wrote and directed the movie, also.
Bulworth has a good message, delivering what probably is something of the truth about the way minorities are handled. Beatty presents the viscous cycle that keep blacks from having an impact on the political workings of the country.
But that's about where the movie ends, because the other 99 percent of the film is muddied, confused, and overall ugly.
Sure, the movie looks funny in the previews, with Beatty addressing a black church about how little the Democrats and Republicans care about them, and it is... to a point. After his initial speech, the comedy runs its course. The main problem with the film is that Beatty's character is so crazy and psychotic through most of the film that it is hard to relate to him. I mean, he is just totally out of it through most of the movie, and you're sitting there about as stunned as his advisors are in the movie (played by the always prominent Oliver Platt). The other problem is that Bulworth is a dark comedy. I would have enjoyed it much more if he had found out he was going to die of cancer or something like that and just decide to spout what he's really feeling on the public, but instead it's a lot more complicated than that. He hires an assassin to kill him, and then when he starts to do what he does, he decides he doesn't want to die and calls it off, but the man he talks to has a heart attack right afterwards so the assassin is still on the move. This is a big element to the film that isn't shown in the previews, and it isn't a very likeable side. Besides, it is confusing. I was really confused at parts, especially with the events circulating around the hit man.
The dialogue is very clever. Beatty has come up with a lot of smart rap lyrics involving politics. The problem: When he's saying them on camera, it appears more pathetic and crazy than intelligent.
As the movie wore on, I became more and more bored. There is a lot of inner-city black neighborhood stuff that isn't very appealing to watch, even though Beatty is supposed to be presenting an issue. It just is taking away from the entertainment of the film.
As for Halle Berry, I don't even know why she is in the film. Her character doesn't even make sense, she really doesn't have that big of a role, and nothing interesting happens in the relationship with Beatty.
Bulworth was a big surprise... downer. It's boring, technically ugly at times, and not very funny. Beatty's craziness is more pathetic than comical, and from minute one he should have chosen whether he was doing a political issue movie or a political comedy, because the way he's done it, they don't work together.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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