By Chris Nashawaty
October 28, 2015 at 04:33 PM EDT

For a movie about political messaging, Our Brand Is Crisis doesn’t know what it’s selling besides Sandra Bullock’s lusciously buttery dye job. Based on a 2005 documentary about a group of D.C. strategists who went to Bolivia to help get a long-shot candidate elected president, this blunt-edged satire blindly grasps for a tone that works and comes up short. Is it a Miss Congeniality Goes to La Paz bit of slapstick? The sight of Bullock pratfalling as she steps off a plane and mooning from a bus window points to yes. But wait, now she’s all business in black glasses, indicting political corruption with her staff (Zoe Kazan, Anthony Mackie, Ann Dowd, and Scoot McNairy, all overqualified). It’s not that light comedy can’t be mixed with something heavier—Primary Colors juggled the two expertly. It’s just that the comedy here isn’t very funny and the drama isn’t very sharp. As the ruthlessly cynical “Calamity” Jane Bodine, Bullock rises above the script when she’s sparring with Billy Bob Thornton as a rival spin doctor. These two pros have been in enough movies to know how to have some fun even when nothing around them is working. C

2015 movie
  • Movie
  • 113 minutes
Complete Coverage