Black people, who mostly huddle in crime-ridden ghettos and are forced into drug dealing by the insurance lobbyists who really run the country, need to "put down the malt liquor and chicken wings," get off their "butts" and get mad.
"Big Jews" control the media, drive to multimillion-dollar homes in Rolls Royces, and will vote for anyone as long as they put Israel's interests first and say "something bad about Farrakhan."
Are you offended yet? Those are among the stereotypes masking as angry commentary that are perpetrated by "Bulworth," writer-director-actor Warren Beatty's latest vanity project, in which he portrays himself not only as a star, but as a savior.
U.S. Sen. Jay Bulworth is an unlikely messiah as the picture opens. A former liberal firebrand turned Clinton Democrat, he is in the pocket of the business interests that fund his campaign. He becomes so depressed and sick of himself that he takes a contract out on himself after extorting a $10-million life insurance policy out of a crooked lobbyist (Paul Sorvino) with his daughter as beneficiary.
Suddenly, Bulworth feels free to say whatever is on his mind. He starts at a black church by telling them he doesn't care because "you didn't really give any money to my campaign" and then making the chicken-wing comment.
With a C-SPAN crew in tow, Bulworth careens from appearance to appearance making similar insults. Soon, taken with a beautiful black girl (Halle Berry) who latches onto him after the church visit, Bulworth decides he wants to live. He tries to call off the contract, but he feels so freed by his candor that he not only keeps speaking "the truth," he starts to do it in rap - endlessly.
In a moment that would make Frank Capra snort cynically, even a crack dealer (Don Cheadle) who employs children as his "soldiers" is so inspired that he decides to become the next Huey Newton.
Those who equate giving offense with bravery, and who share Beatty's nostalgia for the days when radical was chic, will undoubtedly defend this movie as presenting hard truths. They will say it is merely "politically incorrect" to say these things.
After all, Beatty tries to show how much he cares about the downtrodden, right? There are several long boring speeches about redistributing wealth to them, so his heart must be in the right place. But bigotry shouldn't get a pass because it is dressed up in liberal clothing.
"Bulworth" is nearly watchable in the first half hour as the Beatty character self-destructs. If the movie had stayed in that mode and satirized politicians by saying, "This is what your elected officials are saying they think of you by the way they act," there might have been something to the film.
Beatty is clearly trying to create a "Network" in the political realm. Unlike that great film, however, and like many of the 1970s movies that Beatty wants to emulate, there is not one three-dimensional character in evidence. Satire requires a deft touch with the precision of a scalpel; Beatty is blindly striking out with an ax. He makes Michael Moore and Oliver Stone look like they have a light comic touch.
Since audiences didn't exactly flock to see the fine political satires "Primary Colors" and "Wag the Dog," the box-office potential for this mess is nil. It should be noted, however, that despite Beatty's conspiracy theories about Big Business and message control, it is media mogul Rupert Murdoch's 20th Century Fox studio that is wasting millions promoting what should have been a direct-to-video release, at best.