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Knife Fight: Political ads meet feature films

1 out of 4 stars

Knife Fight
Written by
Bill Guttentag and Chris Lehane
Directed by
Bill Guttentag
Rob Lowe

Imagine if the brains behind your average political commercial were set loose on a feature film. What you'd get is Knife Fight, an improbable fantasy in which the people who make political advertising emerge as chisel-jawed heroes of democracy.

A super-successful master of dirty tricks, political operative Rob Lowe cruises around in his SUV buying airtime and spouting bromides about "making the world a better place" as pots boil and audiences cringe. In between planting sententious speeches where dialogue should be, the filmmakers find time to duplicate plot points from The Ides of March, George Clooney's tepid but still superior political thriller.

There is no ambiguity here: Lowe's Paul Turner is not only a macho knife fighter capable of orchestrating and mitigating sex scandals in two states, he is also a fundamentally decent guy who believes in truth, justice and all that guff. Means and ends meet briefly, shrug and disappear under a torrent of self-flattering clichés.

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