Al Franken: God Spoke
Directed by Chris Hegedus and Nick Doob
Balcony, opens September 13, IFC Center
Unfocused but brisk (and a tad revealing), this documentary bio of Air America muckraker, Saturday Night Live vet, and presumed Senate hopeful Al Franken plays like a stand-up comedy film to the extent that its subject is rarely if ever offstage. Directors Chris Hegedus and Nick Doob catch their star launching the "liberal radio network" with The O'Franken Factor; facing off against Michael Medved and Sean Hannity; playing Saddam Hussein for the troops on his USO tour; impersonating Henry Kissinger for Henry Kissinger; and shedding a tear at John Kerry's concession speech. As the satirist turns to face the voters in Minnesota, flip-flopping on whether to scrub his potty mouth, the film is most compelling for its suggestion of how politics and showbiz are at once incestuously entwined and, perhaps, irreconcilably different. God Spoke would be a campaign tool except that the star's stridency, however entertaining, suggests a limited potential for conversion. When it comes to dick jokes in Keillor country, all bets are off.