Few political careers have been as strange and eventful as that of Anthony Weiner, the scandal-tarred former New York congressman. An acclaimed new documentary — titled, of course, Weiner — takes a look at his fall from grace in 2011 after accidentally tweeting a photo of his underwear bulge. And then his fall all over again two years later during an ill-advised run for New York City Mayor.
“The punchline is true about me,” Weiner says in the trailer for the film, which won the documentary Grand Jury prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. “I did the dumb thing but I did a lot of other things too.” We’ll see many of those here, as directors Josh Kriegman (a former assistant to Weiner) and Elyse Steinberg tag along on the candidate’s ludicrous mayoral campaign, during which more women came forward to confess online relationships with Weiner, known to them as “Carlos Danger.”
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As the bounciness of the trailer shows, Weiner’s story is obviously comic in its tabloid splendor. (Anyone who’s seen Bill Maher and Jane Lynch’s “dramatic reading” of Weiner’s X-rated Facebook chat, for starters, already know that.) But what also seems to emerge is a deeper portrait of the man, ripe with hubris while at odds with himself. “We’re going to try to look like we’re holding together as a group,” he says to his staff at one point. Elsewhere, Huma Abedin, a close advisor to Hillary Clinton as well as Weiner’s wife, says to a staff member, “Just a quick optics thing — you will look happy.”
And you might too when the sure-to-be entertaining film opens in theaters on May 20, with a VOD release coming the following week. Check out the trailer, above.