Tim Heidecker runs for San Bernardino, Calif. District Attorney in Mister America following a mistrial in a murder case against him.
Heidecker’s is only running for District Attorney as a way of getting revenge against incumbent DA Vincent Rosetti. The reason? Rosetti was unable to secure a conviction in court. Heidecker is very much an outsider through the lens of today’s political climate. While we get flashbacks to the court case and interviews with the now-retired judge, the bulk of the film is focused on the final month of the campaign.
The film, directed by Eric Notarnicola, plays in a vérité style. It should be seen as a basic profile. However, the film soon becomes something else. What is it that is driving this outsider candidate to take on the system? Tim is certainly getting in over his head. Forget just that but where is he going to get his campaign money from? It is one thing to take on an incumbent but raising money is certainly another animal! Once word gets out, well, it’s all downhill from there. Heidecker can probably forget about meeting the voters because–again–he’s in over his head. Most of the second half focuses on Heidecker’s efforts to debate Rosetti. One thing is clear–and this may be a mild spoiler–Rosetti wants nothing to do with Heidecker and his campaign.
This is certainly a film that may play better for the On Cinema universe co-created by Heidecker and Gregg Turkington, who also plays himself in the film. I don’t know how general audiences will feel about this film. The running time is certainly to the film’s advantage with running short of 90 minutes. At the same time though, the film might play better as a web series. Even when you’re familiar with their comedy style, a faux-documentary feature film takes the joke a bit too far. As a faux-documentary, the film does work but only to an extent. I liken it to an SNL sketch that can work for a few minutes but it loses the funny when stretched out to a feature-length film.
I’m definitely not saying that the film isn’t funny though. There are laughs spread throughout but it’s certainly not a laugh riot. It has its moments but the joke does get old after a while.
While there’s nothing inherently groundbreaking in Mister America, the film should play for some solid laughs among On Cinema fans.
DIRECTOR: Eric Notarnicola
SCREENWRITERS: Tim Heidecker, Gregg Turkington, Eric Notarnicola
CAST: Tim Heidecker, Gregg Turkington, Terri Parks