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Grassroots

Grassroots

Released 9 November 2012
Director Stephen Gyllenhaal
Starring

Jason Biggs, Lauren Ambrose, Joel David Moore, Tom Arnold
Writer(s)

Stephen Gyllenhaal, Justin Rhodes
Producer(s)


Matt R. Brady, Peggy Case, Michael Huffington, Peggy Rajski, Brent Stiefel
Origin United States
Running Time 98 minutes
Genre Comedy, drama
Rating 15A
30

Vote no.

Deary me, make it stop. Please, make it stop! A political film that is accurate and to the point can be groundbreaking. One which relies on terrible actors, unfunny comedy and a pretentious everyone-looks-good-in-the-end attitude is infuriatingly watery. Grassroots is not just bad, it's boring and, based on a true story, is largely irrelevant to anything that is going on in the real world.

After journalist Phil Campbell gets fired from his publication, his loose-cannon friend Grant Cogswell convinces him to be his campaign manager for an upcoming Seattle City Council election. Cogswell is angered by the policies of incumbent Richard McIver, the sole black representative to the city, who backed by substantial money is reputed to be favouring the wealthy with his policies and diminishing the rights of the poor, as well as the spiritual beauty of Cogswell's home city. Although amateurish, with the help of Campbell Cogswell's radical campaign builds up grassroots support that could result in the unlikely outcome of victory.

While at the beginning of the movie you are drawn into a false sense of security thinking that there could actually be some level of substance to either the story itself or at least the policies in which the candidates are trying to impose, think again. Adapted from a book written by Campbell himself, I seriously have no idea how this was picked up by film producers because there is absolutely no credibility to it being on the big screen whatsoever. A love tale is included, as of course there would be, but if they were trying to highlight Campbell's daring campaign strategy, there was none - at least shown to us. Likewise, Cogswell's interest in developing the city's monorail or his incredibly annoying persona.

Who knows whether Cogswell is as irritating as Joel David Moore's portrayal of him but that guy needs to be kept away from the cameras – for the health and sanity of us all. Ironically, when I saw Jason Biggs' name in the opening credits it was at that point where I thought it was going to go downhill but in fact he was just about the only thing managing to keep the film from being a total train wreck.

To make matters even worse, for a city with such a rich history in music, the soundtrack was barely existent. Safe to say I recommend you stay well clear of Grassroots.

- David Caulfield