Is this the longest “Saturday Night Live” chilly open ever? No, it’s “Bombshell,” a hammy new movie based mostly on the ouster of Fox News head honcho Roger Ailes for sexual harassment.
The drama a few very severe topic shoves apart perception in favor of cartoonish impersonations of Fox News personalities. Audience members giggle as they watch Jeanine Pirro, Geraldo Rivera, Sean Hannity and extra yukking it up within the Manhattan newsroom, dulling the movie’s potential power.
Yes, TV stars are usually large, eccentric individuals, but it surely’s the actor’s job to go beneath the floor and discover their character’s reality. That is in very quickly provide right here.
Although Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) kicked off the case in opposition to Ailes (John Lithgow) and recorded 12 months of their non-public conversations, the movie largely belongs to Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) and her battle to talk out in opposition to her boss whereas additionally dodging Twitter assaults from Donald Trump. Theron does an effective job remodeling into Kelly in a meticulously detailed flip, however, she’s too unflappable, even behind closed doorways.
As Carlson, Kidman speaks quietly and offers an efficiency that’s a lifeless ringer for the spiritual mother she performed in the final 12 months’ “Boy Erased.” Her subtlety, nonetheless, is a pleasant break from all of the cheating on show.
And Margot Robbie performs a fictional Fox producer named Kayla, who the movie’s author Charles Randolph has stated is a mix of a number of Ailes accusers and the results of many hours of analysis. She’s a conservative, evangelical superfan of the community, who’s all the time dreamed of working there. Her grander aspiration of being a Fox anchor leads her into Ailes’ workplace.
Here are a few of Kayla’s so very well-researched strains: “I see myself as an influencer in the Jesus space.” And, after she mistakenly places a photograph of Don Henley onscreen when Glenn Frey dies, she exclaims, “I’m sorry! I don’t know secular music!” Kayla additionally has a complicated one-night stand with a feminine co-worker (Kate McKinnon) that are carelessly tossed in.
Lithgow coasts as Ailes, which isn’t totally his fault. Most of his dialogue is barked orders and pervy whispers. Russell Crowe was significantly better within the position in Showtime’s “The Loudest Voice.” (Fox News is owned by a sister firm of The Post.)
What “Bombshell” has going for it’s a jaunty tempo. The movie by Jay Roach — the “Austin Powers” director who’s had rotten luck with dramas — clips alongside and is all the time watchable. But it misguidedly mimics different annoying, ripped-from-the-headlines motion pictures, akin to “The Big Short” and “Vice,” that depend on Elvis-impersonator performing, smug narration and fast cuts. Sometimes, you simply need to see a troublesome matter taken severely.