When political reporter Phil Campbell (Biggs) loses his job he decides to help his friend Grant Cogswell (Moore) in his bid to win a seat on the Seattle city council. This task, predictably, proves harder than he'd hoped.
Based on the true story of a 2001 Seattle city council election, Stephen Gyllenhaal’s zeitgeist-y indie comedy centres on unemployed music critic/impassioned environmental activist in a polar bear suit Grant (Moore) and his cleverer journalist buddy Phil (Biggs), persuaded to run Grant’s campaign against a slick incumbent and the political machine. It’s supposed to be an inspirational tale of tackling the system but Moore’s character is so intemperate, foul-mouthed, petulant and unlikeable it’s hard to believe voters got behind him as a man of the people. And there’s nothing particularly feelgood or funny about it when you start wondering if the prankish, juvenile good guys aren’t kind of bad guys. Complications in Phil’s love life are neither here nor there but provide respite from Grant’s pontificating and tantrums.
Strange to think that Gyllenhaal's film is based on a true story because the idea of anyone voting for someone as unlikable as Grant seems a stretch.