The upcoming Sarah Palin crockumentary, hilariously titled The Undefeated, has been screening before selected audiences. The reaction hasn’t been particularly encouraging. For the most part conservatives are swooning over its unabashedly reverential treatment of the former half-term governor and defeated VP candidate, while liberals note the historical revisionism that excises all of her missteps and muddle-headedness.
The most surprising critique comes from an unlikely source. Kyle Smith is the film critic for the New York Post. The Post is not only a notoriously right-wing, tabloid rag, it is also owned by Rupert Murdoch, the same person who employs Sarah Palin at his Fox News Channel. So here is what is being said about the movie from its friendliest faction:
“Its tone is an excruciating combination of bombast and whining, it’s so outlandishly partisan that it makes Richard Nixon look like Abraham Lincoln and its febrile rush of images – not excluding earthquakes, car wrecks, volcanic eruption and attacking Rottweilers – reminded me of the brainwash movie Alex is forced to sit through in ‘A Clockwork Orange.’ Except no one came along to refresh my pupils with eyedrops.”
In other words, the movie is a painstakingly accurate representation of its subject. It will be premiering in Iowa next month, followed by New Hampshire and other early primary states. And Fox News still keeps Palin on the air as if she were not campaigning. The producers hope to launch a limited release in mostly red states later in the year. Expect it to achieve success similar to that of the Tea Party-promoted Atlas Shrugged. Which is to say that it will fail miserably. And like Atlas Shrugged, the free market-loving, Randian, Tea Partiers will blame everything but the film’s shoddy production and tedious, predictability for its failure.
The prospects for this project are conspicuously weak. Despite the Pavlovian frenzy on the part of the media, Palin is actually a marginal figure with approval ratings in the twenties. That is not the sort of product that fills seats in theaters. Her books have sold successively worse, and her TLC cable show lost viewers just about every week it was on the air. So where is the audience for this outside of the waning Palin Appreciation Society?
The one potentially positive outcome of this film is that, after it bombs, perhaps the media will grasp that Palin is nothing more than a political pet rock – a gag gift that does not deserve the attention that is showered on her. And since she hates the press so much, and refuses to interact with it, maybe they will stop following her around like lost puppies.