Al Franken: God Spoke (2006)

Genres - Culture & Society  |   Sub-Genres - Biography, Politics & Government  |   Release Date - Sep 13, 2006 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Michael Buening

Al Franken: God Spoke is a heartburn-inducing flashback to the vitriol of the 2004 presidential election, tracking political humorist Al Franken from his Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them book tour to the founding of radio station Air America, his feud with Bill O'Reilly at Book Expo America, John Kerry's loss, and Franken's decision to run for the Senate in 2008 (maybe). Throughout, Franken, in keeping with the tenor of his book, confronts right-wing demagogues and challenges them on their rhetorical bull. He's funny and his targets worthy, but documentarians Nick Doob and Chris Hegedus don't turn the film into a one-dimensional love-fest. Franken can be petty (as when he chases Karen Hughes around, badgering her about an insignificant quote she made regarding George W. Bush's drunk-driving arrest), condescending, and arrogant. "God Spoke" is a joke on Republican claims of divine representation, but Franken's chest-puffing can be just as absurdly ostentatious. Still, this entertaining and at times affecting portrait of an individual taking on and being overwhelmed by political chicanery makes for a worthy document of the more maddening annals of American power in the early 21st century.