Coming to DVD today, Tuesday, December 20: ROSEANNE FOR PRESIDENT!
Eric Weinrib’s chronicle of the comedian’s bid for the White House debuted at Tribeca last year. Its festival circuit also included Traverse City, and it was released in select theaters and on VOD earlier this year.
When legendary sitcom queen Roseanne Barr threw her hat in the 2012 US Presidential race, many thought it was a publicity stunt, but for those who were paying attention, she was serious. Even if she didn’t expect to win as a third party candidate, Barr wanted to use her celebrity to call attention to strongly held beliefs and to build support for alternatives to the two leading political parties. Working closely with his subject – who serves as executive producer here – Weinrib documents Roseanne’s irreverent bid for first the Green Party nomination – which ultimately goes to Jill Stein – and then the Peace and Freedom Party, where legalizing marijuana becomes her signature issue. While it’s clear the comedian’s campaign is no joke, she resists the traditional barnstorming, choosing instead to Skype into events – noting, at one point, that this is not only environmental, but protects her from potential danger from crazed fans – or leaving these appearances to her overworked campaign manager, Farheen Hakeem, a welcome secondary character that provides viewers with an opener view of third party campaigns. Along the way, the film offers a tribute to Roseanne’s pioneering work as a stand-up and especially through her beloved sitcom, which championed LGBT representation and offered a candid look at the struggles of lower-income working families, making a further argument of Roseanne’s ability to impact the national conversation and affect lasting social change. As a whole, while remaining a fairly surface-level appreciation, Weinrib’s doc is a likeable look at the outspoken comedian who deserves a regular platform.