Synopsis by Mark Deming
Actor and comedian Harry Shearer makes his directorial debut with this mock documentary about the slightly sordid pastimes of some of America's wealthiest and most powerful men. Zambesi Glen is a private resort in Northern California whose highly exclusive membership rolls includes high-echelon politicians, leaders of America's military, owners of the nation's biggest corporations, renowned and respected political thinkers, and a handful of celebrity guests; the club's membership is overwhelmingly white and exclusively male. Once a year, Zambesi Glen holds a week-long retreat for its members, and while this gathering features the occasional group discussion of political and economic issues, most of the week is devoted to swilling booze, staging comic skits, performing odd rituals not out of place at a Boy Scout camp, doing business with the prostitutes imported for the festivities, and generally carousing like frat boys on a bender. However, not all is well in this playground for the power elite; feminist groups are protesting Zambesi Glen's "men only" membership policy, and far more embarrassing, a television reporter has found a way to smuggle cameras into the well-guarded resort, giving the world a less than flattering look at what America's leadership likes to do for a good time. The revelers at Zambesi Glen are played by a top-shelf comic cast, including Michael McKean, George Wendt, Henry Gibson, Kenneth Mars, Fred Willard, Howard Hessman, and Bob Einstein; among the female interlopers are Morgan Fairchild, Joyce Hyser, and Ming-Na. Teddy Bears' Picnic was inspired by Harry Shearer's visit as a guest to Bohemian Grove, the real-life men's-only retreat whose members are said to include George W. Bush, Henry Kissinger, Dick Cheney, Malcolm Forbes, David Rockefeller, Casper W. Weinberger, and William F. Buckley, though the film's opening credits humorously disavows any resemblance between Zambesi Glen and Bohemian Grove.
corruption, decadence, exclusive, expose [revelation], hedonism, high-society, reporter, resort, retreat [sanctuary], ritual, stag-party