In 2006, Al Gore unloaded on us An Inconvenient Truth, a documentary film that hoped to enhance the public’s knowledge of global warming and stir change from us all. It was a very important film which shed light on a topic many of us don’t really think about. The film was a wake up call for many and it did shift people’s perceptions of Earth climate change and what can be done to save the planet. The new film A Convenient Truth takes a cue from the Al Gore film but this time, rather than being a documentary of supreme importance, it is a ludicrous “mockumentary” that aims to fulfill one mission: to make audiences laugh.
Much like The Office, A Convenient Truth is shot in documentary style but with actors portraying “real” people. The man of the hour throughout the film is Coleman Burleson (Alan Berman), a California Assemblyman who has figured out a “revolutionary” way to generate electricity in an efficient manner. His proposal is to have illegal Mexican immigrants ride stationary bikes to create energy to power electrical devices. In Burleson’s mind, this plan will not only boost energy efficiency but it will alter dependance on foreign oil, combat obesity, decrease unemployment and correct illegal immigration. Burleson is oblivious to the cons and in his ignorance does his very best to promote his ridiculous plan.
Much like Jonathan Swift’s trenchant 1729 A Modest Proposal, which suggested poor Irish immigrants sell their children to the rich to be eaten, A Convenient Truth is almost as outrageous. Burleson doesn’t seem to realize the utter silliness of his proposal but as the film goes on, his idea seems to get dumber. The politician’s goofy charm makes some question the bike “solution” and this is absolutely horrifying.
Newcomer filmmaker Dominick Bagnato has presented audiences with an appealing comedic take on the documentary film style. A satire in every sense of the word, A Convenient Truth is a humorous look at the power that can go to a politician’s head. Al Gore meant well with his documentary and A Convenient Truth is occasionally hilarious in that it is mocking something so serious. The mockumentary format is genius here and it is something fans of dry subtle humor can certainly find appealing.
Random B-actor Alan Berman (Amityville 1992: It’s About Time, The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Hollywood Follies) knocks it out the park as Burleson, the politician who seems to have an answer to all of society’s problems. His obliviousness is on par with Steve Carell’s Michael Scott and his devotion to his ideas is similar to that of Bob Odenkirk’s Saul Goodman of Breaking Bad. While he may seem a tad slimy, Burleson wants nothing more than his fellow Americans to be healthy and content. His stationary bike idea may be flawed but Burleson himself is an effective leader. He may not be perfect and his plan has many holes but he is a family man simply looking out for others. A Convenient Truth is silly, funny, with a sharp with that is downright refreshing.