Dan Butler, Phil Leirness, Julia Miranda, John Hoffman, Alec Baldwin
Phil Leirness, Dan Butler
Dan Butler, Julia Miranda
What if the role of a lifetime became the love of your life?
The 2008 Indianapolis International Film Festival can be summed up in two words..."dark" and "weird."
I expected almost nothing from "Karl Rove, I Love You," a mockumentary style film starring Dan Butler (Bulldog from "Frasier") as himself as he prepares to tackle the role of infamous Bush right-hand man Karl Rove with the singular goal of impacting the 2004 election. The problem is that as the production progresses, Butler finds himself falling in love with the man he had sworn to destroy.
Butler, an openly gay actor from Indiana who was present at all three of the film's Indy screenings and also co-wrote and co-directed the film, plays everything here in such a deadpan way that it's easy to believe that the film began as a documentary about Butler, whom co-director Phil Leirness considers to be the ultimate supporting player. The hilarity of the film lies in the fact that virtually nothing here is played for laughs. The film's cast consists largely of his co-director Leirness, co-writer Julia Miranda and other acquaintances from his inner circle. While this could have easily spelled disaster for the film, instead it gives the film the perfect touch of comfortableness that makes it work even as the story becomes stranger and stranger.
While "Karl Rove, I Love You" feels a touch long and doesn't quite have the relevance it might have were Karl Rove as prominent on the scene as he was in 2004, the film is still delightfully funny for those who remember reading the horror stories about Rove's White House dominance.
While great acting isn't exactly required here, the cast's obvious chemistry elevates "Karl Rove, I Love You" far above your standard mockumentary into the realm of Christopher Guest's best writing of characters who matter and stories that resonate even in their strangeness.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic