Surprising proof that Hollywood still can craft a memorable studio comedy, Roland Emmerich's White House Down
stands as a singular achievement in parody, its auteur's intentions be damned. It's not just a pitch-perfect attack on every risible plot point afflicting today’s all exposition-and-explosions filmmaking, it’s also a mad liberal's vision of an America beset by white wingnut terrorists, set in a sketch-comedy White House so broad that if you didn't know Jamie Foxx was starring as its president you might guess it to be Leslie Nielsen. If a stupid moment has turned up in too many movies, it's here, funnier. Set in a science-fiction America where nobody's ever seen Die Hard
, White House Down
imagines that, in the name of peace, wise President Jamie Foxx has asked congress to pull every American troop from the Middle East. The opposition party's speaker objects, for some reason. Meanwhile, Channing Tatum (playing a character who's name I bet he, too, would have to look up) is visiting the White House with his YouTubing scamp of an estranged daughter (Joey King)-- a devastating critique of movies' impossible children. Tatum fails an interview for a job with the Secret Service and slumps along with a White House tour, his plight skewering a common fallacy of Hollywood heroism: Every one of this character's personal problems are solved by the attempted murder of the entire executive branch. Just in time, cue the kabooms and the most hilarious spoof comedy since Team America
. The shootouts aren't as clear or funny as the ones in those paintball episodes of Community
, but you’ve seen much worse.
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