Jason Reitman’s political dramedy and light satire about Gary Hart is set in a quaint bygone era when adultery could derail a politician’s, career and there were no news networks trying to fill 24 hours of programming each day. Things are different now, but the film, mostly a straightforward account of the final three weeks of Hart’s primary campaign for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination, doesn’t add anything to the current debate about privacy, tabloid news and the morality of politicians—a missed opportunity to give an old episode new relevance. Hugh Jackman plays Hart, a handsome-for-a-politician Colorado senator who’s caught having an affair with model Donna Rice (Sara Paxton). Vera Farmiga plays Hart’s mortified wife, with J.K. Simmons as his tough campaign manager, but it’s really an ensemble piece—almost Altmanesque at times—about the various campaign staffers and reporters surrounding the story. Reitman and co-writers Matt Bai and Jay Carson, adapting Bai’s book, recreate the spring of 1987 with nostalgia-goosing accuracy, and a tongue-in-cheek tone that keeps things from feeling too serious, but it’s never more than a standard political biopic with a little zip to it.
Director: Jason Reitman
Producer: Jason Reitman, Helen Estabrook, Aaron Gilbert, Matt Bai, Jay Carson, Michael Beugg, Jason Blumenfeld, Steven Thibault, Brenda Gilbert, David Gendron, Ali Jazayeri, Jason Cloth, Chris Conover and Edward Carpezzi
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons, Alfred Molina, Mamoudou Athie, Josh Brener, Bill Burr, Oliver Cooper, Chris Coy, Kaitlyn Dever, Tommy Dewey, Molly Ephraim, Spencer Garrett, Ari Graynor, Toby Huss, Mike Judge, Alex Karpovsky, Jennifer Landon, John Bedford Lloyd, Mark O'Brien, Sara Paxton, Kevin Pollak and Steve Zissis