When Will Ferrell was struggling to break out on Saturday Night Live
, the election of George W. Bush came as a gift from God. The new President gave him a character with a greater reach than one of those head-bobbing Roxbury guys--so it’s only just that Ferrell, now a marquee-topping movie star, should cap off the Bush years with this final homage. You’re Welcome America. A Final Night with George W. Bush
is not so much a political satire as a fever dream, a hallucinatory exorcism. Ferrell paints Bush as an arrested adolescent, simultaneously self-absorbed yet without a hint of self-reflection, but beyond that there’s not much commentary on the actions or collective psyche of the Bush administration (though some of the most startling gags turn out to be true). Instead, Ferrell spins out 90 minutes of faux-personal anecdotes that blur into crass surrealism: Dreaming of a cabin getaway with another man that includes a description of a “Western-grip” version of a certain sexual act; gaping at a muscular Barbara Bush rescuing all the Bush men from a collapsed mine shaft; performing robotic dance moves with Condoleeza Rice; demanding a squadron of wild monkeys be trained for combat; and imitating, obsessively, a Castillian lisp. It is a very strange performance, captured live at Broadway theater and later broadcast on HBO. Ten years from now, audiences may stare, perplexed and hypnotized, at this show, unable to comprehend what it’s about--which may be entirely the point. --Bret Fetzer
From the Studio
In his first-ever HBO special, superstar comedian/actor Will Ferrell takes viewers on a sentimental journey through the life, legend, and legacy of the 43rd U.S President, portraying George W. Bush in this live performance from Broadway’s Cort Theater.