Donald Trump has it all. Money, power, respect, and an Eastern European bride. But all his success didn't come for nothing. First, he inherited millions of dollars from his rich father, then he grabbed New York City by the balls. Now you can learn the art of negotiation, real estate, and high-quality brass in this illuminating made-for-TV special feature, Funny Or Die Presents Donald Trump's The Art Of The Deal: The Movie.Written by
Johnny Depp was on set for four days, filming under heavy secrecy. Many of the film's supporting cast had to sign non-disclosure agreements in order to keep his involvement a total secret from the general public until the day of release. See more »
In the bar scene, Trump refers to Roy Cohn as "Right-hand man to Senator Eugene McCarthy." Roy Cohn did not work for Liberal Democratic Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy, but rather anti-Communist Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy. See more »
At the end of the movie the following credit appears:
Some of the characters appearing in this fake TV Movie may be based on real people, but we took huge liberties and basically made a bunch of stuff up for laughs. With the exception of Alf. He is not real. He is a puppet, and Melmac is not a real planet. And if Melmac was real, it doesn't exist anymore because it exploded. Anyway, even if Alf really lived, he probably wouldn't have been Donald Trump's best man as the filmmakers don't think they would have been that close. May be would have been an user at the wedding or the DJ at the reception? Doesn't matter. See more »
Donald Trump didn't coin the phrase "There's no such thing as bad publicity," but he may as well have (and he might even take credit for it anyway). For a titanic media figure whose image was already virtually predicated on self-satire (even before his recent bid for presidency), Trump's belligerent braying has courted many a satire in his time, but few that have made much of an incisive mark. If anything, the glut of recent Trump riffing, from SNL to Jimmy Fallon, have more than likely backfired in their riffing intent, and only served to further bolster the outrageous silliness of Trump's media personality, rather than drawing much- needed attention to the many problematic aspects of his campaign. As James Poniewozik from the New York Times mused, "How do you spoof a candidate who treats campaigning like a roast?"
This is the major sticking point with Funny or Die's 'Donald Trump's the Art of the Deal: The Movie'. On paper, a fantastic idea - Ron Howard introduces a videocassette of Trump's (fictional) '80s-set informercial-turned-TV-movie, lost in "the Cybill Shepherd blouse fire of 1989" (one of the film's choicest one-liners) - the film plays as an overlong skit which flounders due to not being terribly funny, and crucially lacking in any particularly percipient satire. Is it amusing? Yes, for the most part, but fairly blandly so. With an unfocused sense of humour broadly skewing for everything from Citizen Kane gags (thank goodness for Patton Oswald and his cinema-literacy) to occasional pokes at the fourth wall (some more successful than others, though one mid-film "re-casting" bit is a winner), to toilet humour, preciously few bits raise more than a faint smile. Oddly enough, where the film really excels is as an '80s pastiche, with its washed out VHS fuzziness, corny montages, and chirpy, gratuitous child lead(s) acing the tropes enough to make John Hughes proud. There's even a Kenny Loggins theme tune, bless 'em.
Of course, the film's main bid for attention is its 'who woulda thunk it?' stunt casting of Johnny Depp as Trump - and, yes, it's as much of a rollicking success as you've heard. With the aid of some impressive prosthetics and a mighty hairpiece, Depp nails Trump's fidgety physicality and distinctive Queens bellow. However, he's also wise enough to dig beneath mere mimicry, finding notes of preening sinisterness and occasional desperation, entirely devoid of empathy, all coalescing into a performance that feels entirely human, and all the more unsettling for it. The gaggle of guest stars are also generally good for a laugh - Oswald, transposing his characteristic neurotic schlub into a Miami Vice villain is a scream, while Alfred Molina tirelessly fishes for peanut gallery one-liners as Trump's seedy "Jewish lawyer." Even if most of the cast are invited to retool their best bits from other work, they're all still on top form - Jack McBrayer revisiting his bubbly, hollow- eyed imp from 30 Rock, Henry Winkler his blustery hypocrite from Arrested Development, while Robert Morse gets one more adorable 'top of the ladder' yuk, and there's a Christopher Lloyd cameo so stupendous I won't spoil it here. Still, it's a shame such a superb ensemble isn't given more to do than be fairly repetitively roasted by Depp's Trump, believable as it may be.
'Believable,' ultimately, is the sadly operative word. If Funny or Die's intent was to defame Trump's image midway through the primaries, it's a bit of a redundant effort: such an unfortunately gentle satire is hardly news for Trump-opposition, while those firmly on Team Trump are unlikely be shaken by any of Depp's mugging, excellent as he is. Call it the Wolf of Wall Street effect (though The Art of the Deal is a far feebler effort): the artistic intent is to present Trump's misdemeanours at barely exaggerated face value, intending them to speak for themselves as inherently absurd and satirical. However, due to Trump's cult of personality, those already swayed by him are all too likely to reppropriate the joke as sincere, making it a bit of a disappointingly apolitical backfire of a political satire. Ultimately, Funny or Die's The Art of the Deal means well, but it's lazy, highly produced, and lacking in cohesion and teeth, muddying its point in a bunch of loud, airy bluster counterbalanced with infectious enough buffoonery to ride out in spite of itself. In short, it's everything Donald Trump would love.
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