“Game Change” is not a flawless docudrama. Neither is it, in the words of a conservative blogger, “a heinous piece of propaganda” for Obama.
What “Game Change” is, at its essence, is a wildly-entertaining cautionary tale about presidential politics. Moral of the story: Be careful what you wish for.
“Game Change,” which debuts on HBO Saturday, follows Sen. John McCain‘s disastrous decision to name then-unknown Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his Republican running mate in 2008. It’s based on the best seller of the same title by reporters Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, both of whom served as consultants.
McCain and Palin, among others in their respective camps, have made so much noise about the alleged inaccuracies of “Game Change” (sight unseen) that HBO included a letter in its media kit, defending Danny Strong’s script. For HBO, that is not an everyday occurrence.
This much is beyond dispute – Julianne Moore and Ed Harris give remarkable performances as Palin and McCain.
Moore, a four-time Oscar nominee, perfectly mimics Palin’s speech in its distinctive rhythm, pitch, and scrappin’ of consonants. She doesn’t go too far, however, allowing her to avoid the level of parody by Tina Fey on “Saturday Night Live.” (In a nice touch, Moore is shown watching the “SNL” clips.)
Harris is equally impressive in his McCain incarnation. The actors’ eyes alone speak volumes, particularly in the scene where his Alpha-dog chief strategist, Steve Schmidt (played to the