Head of State | Chicago Reader

Head of State

Chris Rock makes his directorial debut with this bracing political satire, playing an inept Washington alderman tapped to run for president. The script is updated Capra: after the Democratic nominee dies, a party bigwig appoints Rock as a sacrificial lamb to go up against the seemingly unbeatable Republican vice president, who ends every speech with the mantra: “God bless America—and noplace else!” Soon the dark-horse candidate finds his own funky voice and emerges as a populist hero, threatening not only the veep but the button pushers in his own party. The gags come fast and furious, and though some are a little stale, Rock and cowriter Ali LeRoi strive for wit over crudity—in a priceless homage to Buster Keaton, reports that Rock will win California send hundreds of white voters stampeding out of their gated communities toward the polls. 95 min.

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