This political satire started off with a Sorry to Bother You / Blindspotting vibe, and in the second half felt more like In the Loop…with a dash of Kafka.
My wife and I laughed through out. There are non-stop jokes and bizarre scenarios, although it’s often not laugh out loud funny, as much as it’s just amusing and enjoyable to watch.
There are a bunch of bumbling fools working for the FBI, and constantly trying to nail drug dealers and terrorists. We watch as things are botched a few different times, and we figure the same will happen when they latch onto this bizarre family that they perceive to be terrorists. Things are made worse by a goofball informant that they use.
Moses Al Shabaz (Marchant Davis) preaches to his four family members, and you chuckle every time he ends his sermons, by praising Mohammad, General Toussaint Louverture, Baby Jesus, and Black Santa. He has some kind of mental issues, because he thinks he’ll be able to use his mind to destroy things (like the two huge cranes at a nearby construction site). He also wants to develop ray guns. Moses talks about wanting to overthrow the government, and he and a few of his followers do weird duck walk exercises in preparation for some kind of battle. But as you watch him go about his day, you realize he’s not dangerous, just dopey.
The family has problems paying the rent for their modest farm. Often times, meals are provided by spunky wife Venus (Danielle Brooks), after dumpster diving at local restaurants. The FBI gets wind of this group after one of their stings fails, and they notice them on Facebook Live.
The head FBI guy is Andy (Denis O’Hare, who has the perfect look/attitude for a role like this). Kendra (Anna Kendrick) works underneath him, but is clearly the smartest of the group of agents. She riffs a few times in amusing ways, especially one scene in which she’s telling Andy she won’t let him down.
Reza (Kayvan Novak) is the informant that is forced into crazy scenarios, because if he doesn’t, they’ll charge him with being a sex offender.
It was also nice to see comedic genius Jim Gaffigan again playing against type (as he did last month in Them That Follow). He plays a white supremacist.
In one of many humorous lines, when Andy doesn’t seem interested in Kendra’s latest sting: “Black targets are no longer cool. The cops have fu**ed up those legal optics.”
There’s an opening drug bust scene with two white college kids looking to buy some Molly…that sets the pace of the fun you’re going to have with this picture.
Yet when they start the movie with a title card that says it is “based on hundreds of true stories” and the way it ends…you’ll roll your eyes that the director tried to make a serious point in the end. The film is a thousand times better than the critically praised garbage that was The Last Black Man in San Francisco. And it’s a shame this isn’t getting a bigger release (it’s only at one theatre in San Diego).
This film is shot well enough by Marcel Zyskind in Florida and it’s directed by Christopher Morris, who has done some work on the show Veep and a movie that also dealt with some jihad terrorists in Four Lions (Riz Ahmed, Benedict Cumberbatch).
If you can find it, it’s worth seeing. In San Diego, it’s only at the ArcLight.
3 stars out of 5.