Sunday, March 15, 2009

Review: "You're Welcome America - A Final Night With George W. Bush"

When I heard that Will Ferrell was planning a one man show on Broadway that would launch on Inauguration Day, my first thought was, "I need to get out to New York and start waiting in line."  Then reality hit me and I realized that I couldn't.  Thank god for HBO.  They announced that they would be broadcasting it one night during its run. Well last night was that night, and let me tell you the show did not disappoint.  

It begins with W. being lowered on stage from what is supposed to be Marine 1 giving him his last trip.  He then takes us on a journey from his days as co-owner of the Texas Rangers all the way up to the election of, "That Tiger Woods guy."  He and his writers do a great job of blending the absurd (a story of Barbara Bush saving him, his dad and his brothers from a collapsed cave; a sexy dance with Condi) to an honest interpretation of someone who truly believes that everything he's done was the right thing to do for America.  It was a balance that I honestly did not expect to see from a show who's opening has W. showing off a large picture of his junk...twice.  It showed how much Will understands what it takes to make a one man show so much more than just a one-off impersonation.      

While the show was as funny as hoped, the broadcast itself was pretty un-even.  Much of the show relies on 3 large overhead screens that display images to convey the atmosphere and mood of W.  and we are left wondering what is that the audience is laughing at.  There seemed to be other times that the cameras couldn't find their shot and the director didn't know if they should keep it tight or pull wide.  It's possible that many of these things will be fixed with re-airing's  and the inevitable release on DVD.  I strongly suggest catching it during one of it's repeats on HBO.  Be prepared for an absurd world that we are all a part of.  

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