The Good: Direction, One or two good jokes
The Bad: Much of the humor falls flat, Nothing terribly new or fresh, Ferrell slips out of character
The Basics: My wife and I were enthusiastic to finally see You're Welcome America: A Final Night With George W. Bush but were greatly disappointed by what is largely a less funny or insightful version of Fahrenheit 9/11.
Once upon a time, not terribly long ago, the woman who would become my wife and I went on a trip to New York City. It was actually on that trip that we proposed to one another, despite promising we would wait after we picked up our rings. On that trip, I took my wife to see The Phantom Of The Opera on stage, which allowed her to check off something on her bucket list. While we were in the City, we saw signs for Will Ferrell's play You're Welcome America: A Final Night With George W. Bush and if we had not run out of money, we would have gone to it. Now, I am exceptionally glad we did not waste our money, despite my wife being a huge fan of Ferrell's works.
Tonight, we watched the HBO presentation of Will Ferrell's You're Welcome America: A Final Night With George W. Bush and I have serious regrets over wasting the $2.99 on the digital presentation. My wife has gotten me to appreciate Ferrell's comedy and I have actually enjoyed his impersonations of former president George W. Bush before. But You're Welcome America: A Final Night With George W. Bush falls so flat that Ferrell abandons anything resembling an impersonation for the last few minutes and starts giving audience members nicknames. The only surprise for me was that while I laughed twice and smiled several times, my wife did not laugh once and she smiled far less than I did.
In other words, with two liberals, eager to watch You're Welcome America: A Final Night With George W. Bush, we were utterly disappointed.
After parachuting onto the stage, George W. Bush begins a monologue in which he describes the Skull & Bones from college, his poor business decisions and how he fell into being President. From there, he explores the September 11, 2001 attacks, reading My Pet Goat and the war in Iraq. He takes a call from his FEMA director and then muses on whether or not he was the worst president ever.
In between sets, Bush's Secret Service Agent dances.
There are three fundamental problems with You're Welcome America: A Final Night With George W. Bush. The first problem is that it is largely not funny. Ferrell is off his game on this program and the jokes are not terribly fresh or original, from calling Obama "that Tiger Woods guy" to repeating some obscure actors name as a running joke, Ferrell doesn't quite capture anything newly funny about George W. Bush in his impression. In fact, the two best jokes are the physical comedy between Bush and Condoleezza Rice and a gag in which Bush discusses the ramifications of mispronouncing Niger. But beyond that, most of the jokes are worth a grin but not much more.
Second, Ferrell seems off his game. The key portions of Ferrell's impersonation of Bush are his mumbling accent and the squinting, goofy look that only Ferrell and Bush seem to be able to sustain. Unfortunately, Ferrell cannot sustain either for the duration of this program. Whenever he raises his voice to a manic level, Ferrell usurps Bush and his eyes too frequently pop wide open so it is just Will Ferrell in a wig.
Finally, You're Welcome America: A Final Night With George W. Bush fails because there is nothing new here. Ferrell is scooped on virtually ever joke or politically astute point by Fahrenheit 9/11. Yes, the same demographic that is most likely to enjoy You're Welcome America: A Final Night With George W. Bush already knows that the "Coalition Of The Willing" was assembled from nations like Denmark, a nation that had no standing army and one that volunteered 2,000 monkeys. Been there, done that, what else do you have? Unfortunately, it's all things like quotes that illustrate Bush misusing language, explorations of his family's connections and the absolute determination he had to get us into a war without any real evidence to get us there.
In other words, what isn't already familiar is presented in a way that is just not funny. So, after years of waiting to see You're Welcome America: A Final Night With George W. Bush, my wife and I wasted seventy-five minutes of our life and both wish we had not. Fortunately, we had American Dreamz (reviewed here!) to cleanse our palates with afterward.
For other works with Will Ferrell, please be sure to check out my reviews of:
The Other Guys
Land Of The Lost
Family Guy - Season 4
For other movie or television reviews, please be sure to visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
| | |