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STUDIO: Eyethink Pictures
RUNNING TIME: 84 Minutes
• Commentary by cast
• Commentary by crew
• "If These Wigs Could Talk" behind-the-scenes featurettes
• 4 bonus songs
• Multi-angle options
"It’s like Hedwig and the Angry Inch as performed by a barbershop quartet, with governmental politics as a stand in for sexual. And it doesn’t have ‘The Origin of Love‘ in it. God damn, that’s a great song."
The Kinsey Sicks themselves! Ben Schatz, Irwin Keller, Chris Dilley, and Jeff Manabat.
America’s Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet, composed of four committed Republican housefraus, host a willing audience through a night of Republican fundraising, by means of singing, carousing, innuendo, outuendo, colorful damnation, and promises of a visit from our very own President George Walker Bush. Very little cash seems to be donated to the party, but I’m sure the bar got plenty.
Well, shoot. Just give me a brogue and call me Stephen Rea.
Mockery is a strange art. I’m not very good at it, myself, and I guess it’s because I don’t fully understand it. It always plays like strawman humor, to me, knocking down caricatures of an opponent with harpoons (lampoons?) of barbed wit. Because format for mockery varies so little, I tend to get bored. I don’t handle "variations on a theme" well, and I think "yo momma" jokes are a lower life form than puns.
("Hey, Ian! Yo momma so dumb it must have been genetic and now you’re dumb, too!")
What I don’t get is how mockery can be stretched to a feature length. Once you’ve stabbed your subject between the ribs, how many more wounds do you need to inflict? In the same hole? That’s just grotesque. or it would be, if that weren’t just a clumsy metaphor.
Which goes to show you exactly how much I don’t understand in this wide world of comedy. Political mockery has been going on for centuries, and it’s fun to see the wide spectrum represented in modern culture, from Stephen Colbert’s Swift-style satire to the penny-seat antics of The Kinsey Sicks. There’s something gloriously medieval about this quartet of singers and comedians; they’re the sort you’d expect to see in motley by the High Street, screeching out that the king has no clothes. Subtle? No. Worth tossing some coins at? You betcha, and more. As long as you’re not worried about getting your head chopped off for dissent.
I Wanna Be A Republican is a simple show, very few props, and only the four performers on stage for most of it. They sing a song, do a sketch, sing a song, do another sketch, etc. The interstitial segments play a little stale — except, I’m afraid I have to admit, for one brilliant sequence of puns which had the audience groaning and me busting my gut. There is something dreadfully wrong with me. I shall cure it with alcohol.
The songs are where the show really sparkles. These guys are fine singers, all, with some respectable range, and the songs are clever and catchy as you’d expect from a genre so heavy on melody. My favorite of the songs is probably the one in which these four, terribly repressed Republican women sing the praises of carnal sins. Not that Republicans in the news lately have been terribly distant from such Earthbound pleasures, but it’s a great tune. Actually, a series of tunes. Okay, now that I think of it, sex seems to come up a lot.
She says she’s more comfortable there.
I Wanna Be A Republican isn’t liable to open a discourse with jaded politicos, or cross the great divide between you and the Joneses, but it’s well-set to entertain its target audience, and maybe stretch its fingers toward the middle of the road. Plus, I’m planning on burying my copy in a time capsule so that historians of the future will remember Republicans as transvestites.
The disc comes with two feature-length commentaries: one by the performers, and one by the stage and shooting crew. The former is surprising for its seriousness, and the latter for its levity, not that either overbalance in their respective directions. I dig that the Sicks are out to entertain, with a bit of backhanded education mixed in, which is what they communicate in their commentary.
There’s also a behind-the-scenes feature called "If These Wigs Could Talk" which is great for anyone interested in stage productions; it’s much more of a theatrical piece than a cinematic one.
You also score four bonus songs, bloopers, and some multi-angle feature resurrected from the grave of the early 00s.