‘Mister America’ Review: The Returns Are In: Diminishing

The jury is still out on whether 21st-century politics has reached a point beyond parody, but the one-note satire “Mister America” proves that it’s still possible to get laughs out of a single gag — and just as possible to belabor the joke.

The comedian Tim Heidecker (“Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”) stars as, well, Tim Heidecker, who for purposes of this movie is a first-time campaigner. Tim is mounting an independent challenge to the San Bernardino County district attorney (Don Pecchia), who had previously tried to convict him in more than a dozen deaths. (A bad-drugs incident at an electronic dance music festival has gotten Tim dubbed the “vape killer” by the press.)

Tim, whose campaign is chaired by the lone juror (Terri Parks) who refused to vote guilty, faces certain obstacles to winning, such as not technically living in the district, not being a lawyer and a need to gather signatures from real people.

Presented in a mockumentary format, “Mister America” demonstrates a good ear for tone-deaf rhetoric (Tim’s slogan is “We have a rat problem!,” a phrase emblazoned on signs that he hangs in local eateries) and slyly lampoons the conventions of insipid advocacy filmmaking (lyrical shots of residential neighborhoods; plangent guitar and piano scoring).

But comedies, like campaigns, face challenges of momentum. And although “Mister America” has inspired moments throughout, Tim’s ignorance, insensitivity and ill-fitting tailoring aren’t really good for 90 minutes of laughs. The movie is a “Veep”-like object that has mistakenly landed in theaters.

Mister America

Rated R. Disrespect of civic process. Running time: 1 hour 29 minutes.

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