[box cover]

Bob Roberts: Special Edition

Bob Roberts, actor Tim Robbins' 1992 directorial debut, is crippled by myopic politicking, as this supposed satire about a senatorial campaign is flattened into a mean-spirited, one-sided rant that has plenty in common with the "tyranny over the mind" Robbins' professes to reject. Robbins stars as Bob Roberts, a callow, greedy rat who cleverly co-opts the images of the 1960s rebel but twists them to serve "conservative" issues (true conservatives — and even rational liberals — may and should take issue with that). While Bob Roberts could have been an ambitious political satire exaggerating and savaging the across-the-board hypocrisy, pomp, spin, and pettiness of all candidates seeking high office, Robbins limits his critique to conservatives, painting the film's many liberals as alternately befuddled and righteously outraged at the evil incarnate that is Bob Roberts. This narrow approach — combined with severe narrative shortcomings — is deadly. The first rule of satire is "no sacred cows," but Robbins lets them run so wild in Bob Roberts that you can't take one step without getting shit all over your shoe. Good transfer in the original full-frame (1.33:1), Dolby 2.0 Surround. Includes three commentary tracks — one with Robbins, another with Robbins and co-star Gore Vidal, and a third with Counterpunch editors Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, which has nothing to do with the movie but rather is a detailed discussion of CIA-related drug conspiracies. Further extras include deleted scenes, trailers, and TV spots. Keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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