Bombshell

At the Movies Blog

Bombshell was a bomb. 

I have no problem with a network being attacked. Here’s the problem I have. When Morgan Spurlock made the documentary Super Size Me, and showed how bad McDonald’s food was (as if we didn’t know that)…I figured that Taco Bell, Wendy’s, and every other fast food place would probably suffer from hurt business. With this, I couldn’t help but wonder — wouldn’t a better story have been done about NBC News? They’ve had to deal with Matt Lauer and a few others, as well as their burying the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Yet nothing has happened to that network. Fox already got rid of Ailes (then he died), and fired Bill O’Reilly. We already knew all this stuff, which makes me wonder…why they even tackled this (especially with The Loudest Voice with Russell Crowe). And if you are going to give us this story again, why make it so damn bland? 

Director Jay Roach did a handful of wacky comedies like Meet the Parents, Austin Powers, The Campaign, and Dinner for Schmucks. He got a bit more serious with Trumbo (Bryan Cranston). Writer Charles Randolph (The Big Short) came up with this, but it doesn’t have that bite that Big Short had. It’s not really a comedy (although it has a few funny lines). It’s not all that suspenseful (since we know the outcome). It’s the type of movie that would’ve just been an interesting story to read about. It’s frustrating that a few of the best things in the movie weren’t explored more. One of those is a character played by Kate McKinnon, who’s a fictional character in a relationship with another fictional character (Margot Robbie). It also might have been more interesting to explore the idea that she hates Fox News and what it stands for, yet she’s working a job that she otherwise likes.

Charlize Theron does a terrific job playing Megyn Kelly and deserves all the credit she’s getting. She can be cold as ice, but warm in other scenes. Okay, not warm, but…a bit nicer. The problem is, we just don’t learn all that much about Kelly or Gretchen Carlson after all is said and done.

John Lithgow plays Roger Ailes, and he looks a lot like him (if Ailes had a baby with Jabba the Hut). The main problem with his performance is that every time he opens his mouth, he sounds just like….John Lithgow. It takes you out of the picture.

This might also be the first movie I’ve seen Nicole Kidman (as Carlson) where I didn’t care for her in the role. It’s not her acting, I don’t think. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Perhaps it’s how her character was written. Now, I love what that character did in order to nail Ailes (no spoiler alert needed there because again, we all know what happened).

Speaking of bad casting, Richard Kind is one of my favorite character actors (try to find him in Auggie from this year, one of the most underrated movies of 2019). Yet casting him to play Rudy Giuliani…what was that about? Not to mention the many impersonators that we see walking through the newsroom. Oh look, a big goofy mustache. It’s Geraldo Rivera. How dumb and distracting was that? It’s like we’re watching a skit on Saturday Night Live. Although, the character they cast for Bill O’Reilly was perfect.

An actress I love, Connie Britton, was cast as Ailes’ wife. She wasn’t given much to do but complain about people wearing hoodies.

Allison Janey is another actress I adore. She plays a lawyer with an annoying accent. She sounded like Laverne DeFazio (Penny Marshall). 

I also wonder about the mixed messages. The fictional character Robbie plays, is willing to sleep with the boss to get ahead. She and Gretchen also seemed to be a bit ignorant.  

Why is the film covering so much about Trump? None of us care about him, or his Tweets about Kelly (this rather short movie devoted a lot of time to their spat).

I don’t know. It seems like a creep that makes women twirl around in his office, or show their legs…isn’t as egregious as what happened with Weinstein’s film studio, NBC news, and a lot of other places. Don’t get me wrong, it’s wrong. Yet the movie never made me feel the outrage I should have. And for such a serious subject, they seemed to occasionally go for cheap laughs; Ailes watching CNN and saying of a reporter “I bet those lips suck a lot of ****.”

It all felt so corny.

Oh, and since I’ve been mentioning all the movies that have barf scenes, since I’m baffled as to why every film seems to have one — this picture has the distinction of having the earliest. In the first five minutes, Kelly barfs before going out to moderate the presidential debate.

Skip Bombshell, and see last year’s documentary — Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

I can only give this movie 1 ½ stars out of 5.

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