Movie review of “Roseanne for President”: Eric Weinrib’s documentary, about Roseanne Barr’s 2012 run for our country’s top office, isn’t quite entertaining enough to qualify as comedy, nor quite thoughtful enough to take seriously. Rating: 2 stars out of 4.
You wonder about the timing of Eric Weinrib’s “Roseanne for President!,” which arrives in theaters precisely when quite a lot of us, whatever our political persuasion, might be feeling a little weary of presidential campaigns. The film documents comedian Roseanne Barr’s 2012 run for our country’s top office, initially for the Green Party but later nominated, after failing to make the Green ballot, by the socialist Peace and Freedom party. She appeared on the presidential ballot in three states, and — spoiler alert! — did not win.
“I’m not running as a publicity stunt,” insists Barr, in her trademark sardonic drawl, in the opening scenes of the film, but “Roseanne for President!” doesn’t really prove this point. The film is a mixture of Barr’s life story (a troubled childhood that included a stint in a psychiatric institution, her pioneering work in television with her series “Roseanne”) and campaign-trail documentary. But there really isn’t much of a campaign to document — Barr, who says she doesn’t like shaking hands and meeting people, mostly Skypes from her Hawaii home — and it’s hard to tell exactly what to make of it all.
Ultimately, her run and “Roseanne for President!” meet the same fate: not quite entertaining enough to qualify as comedy, nor quite thoughtful enough to take seriously.
Movie Review ★★
‘Roseanne for President!,’ a documentary directed by Eric Weinrib. 97 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences (contains strong language). Sundance (21+).