Are these two old New Yorkers for real? Do they want to make us feel stupid? Are they trying to turn a real payoff to a porn star into a caper movie? The possibly demented real estate developer who walks a fine line between what is legal and what is not, the talk of NYC for many years, is played by, you guessed it, Donald Trump. The ex-Governor and aging lawyer, with an opinion about everything and a platform that he should refrain from using; a man who sounds like a character from the Godfather, is being played by Rudy Giuliani.
These two old guys find themselves in the White House, in charge of America, no less. What could go wrong? You will see them on the media, almost never together, manipulating public opinion to hide the past of that real estate “mogul” turned President of America. What does he have to hide: his shyster finances and business dealings; his enormous taste for women who worked for Playboy owner, Hugh Hefner; his dealings in countries that are not exactly friends of America; his taste for Russian banks?
We hear the somewhat incoherent lawyer (is he senile or just pretending), who has not practiced law in years, muddying the waters. By the time he is done with us we won’t know if a crime has been committed or not and, poof, the entire situation will suddenly seem to disappear. They are a pair of street-wise New Yorkers straight out of the 1950’s with sad hair and portly figures and tough guy New York accents who think they have a plan to fool America, to dazzle us with fast patter and a jaw-dropping mix of lies, half-truths, misinformation, truths, and lies again. They have pretty good timing for two old coots, one saying something, and the other denying it and vice versa. Moviegoers will be shaking their heads to see if their brains are still in their skulls.
The real estate developer, now the American President, leaves his crony to deal with the improbable details of the porn star payoff. He is suddenly involved with killing an important anti-nuke deal that no one wants him to kill and helping a possible merger of a divided nation that should probably not happen. He knows how to look too busy and too important to deal with his off-the-wall lawyer. There are plots within plots. But the ex-Governor may have to be fired and the plot will thicken still more. Is this really a comedy? Some of it may have once seemed like it was important, but our stars are very good at convincing us that these legal matters hardly matter in the grand scheme of things.
We should not even worry about the spy story line where the President may have had help getting elected from a man, played by Putin in Russia, who would like to see the end of American democracy and would like to see Russian world hegemony. We will be told that there are no spies. Russia did not hack the American election. The wild verbosity of the ex-Governor/lawyer may be able to help his old buddy with this problem too. If the two wily old men can discredit the Justice Department, the media, the intelligence services, and the special prosecutor all will be well. It sounds like a tall order but these two are excellent at the art of distraction and razzle-dazzle. We are all spellbound or horrified, hard to tell which. How will this all end? Is this still a comedy?
NYT’s video on Giuliani and Trump – 5/9/2018