Cert 15 Stars 3

Steve Carrel brings charm and humour to his role as a ruthless spin doctor called Gary in this over-amiable political comedy written and directed by Jon Stewart, best known as host of US satirical news program The Daily Show.

Gary’s a political fish out of water in rural Wisconsin where he’s hoping to boost his party’s presence in the opposition heartlands by persuading Chris Cooper’s principled yet reluctant retired Marine colonel to run for mayor, despite having no previous political experience.

Rose Byrne has rarely been better than as Gary’s delightfully acid tongued opposite number, their filthy mouthed rivalry is the highlight of the film and I wish we’d seen a lot more of her.

Stewart is influenced by such films as 1939’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, 1941’s The Great McGinty and 1972’s The Candidate and his script merrily criticises the obscene amount of cash spent on campaigning for corrupting politics, and lays bare just how extraordinarily broken the US political system is.