Take a (Much-Needed) Break: 9 Lighthearted(ish) Political Movies

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Taryn Williford)

With the election a few weeks away, you might need a quick reminder that politics can be a backdrop for some really great humor. Here are nine (well, technically ten) films that will offer you an escape—and your best chance at fighting election fatigue.

(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

The quintessential summer blockbuster (let’s agree to forget about the sequel), this action film will remind you that however much this election season is stressing you out, at least there aren’t aliens. And President Thomas J. Whitmore (aka Bill Pullman) serves up the single most inspiring speech in movie history.

(Image credit: Columbia Pictures)

2. 1776

This family-friendly gem based off of the stage musical of the same name is a whimsical retelling of the birth of American government. It’s an easy-to-digest history lesson full of catchy tunes, and stars a be-ponytailed Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World as John Adams. Richard Henry Lee gets the best song because history works in mysterious ways.

(Image credit: Columbia Pictures)

3. Dick

Here’s an improbable sentence: Featuring Will Ferrell as Bob Woodward. An unexpected reimagining of the Watergate scandal, Dick stars Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams at the height of their teen movie star powers. Totally silly, very very ’90s and exceedingly charming, it’s worth taking a chance on despite seeming pretty ridiculous.

(Image credit: Univeral Pictures/Warner Bros)

Yes, technically two different movies, but they satisfy the same cinematic itch with equal amounts of aplomb. Love against the backdrop of the capitol building—check! Willowy brunettes—check! Your mom’s crush—check! If you’re in the mood for a romantic movie with substance and fleshed out female leads, both fit the bill. The American President is an Aaron Sorkin joint so expect the usual cast of characters and lightning fast banter. Dave features the easy charm of Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver and a little more of a screwball comedy style set-up (he runs a temp agency and impersonates the president on the side, then he is the president!). Watch one, enjoy it and then watch the other.

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

A dark comedy starring Dustin Hoffman (who was nominated for an Oscar for his role) and Robert DeNiro, it explores the relationship between hollywood, politics and distracting the American public. If you like your conspiracy theories filtered through some seriously smart satire, this is your movie.

(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Occasionally problematic execution of an interesting premise, Bulworth works through the idea of a politician who decides to finally tell the truth while eschewing “traditional” expectations of what a politician should look and sound like. Written, directed and starring Warren Beatty, it may not be totally in line with the sensibilities of 2016, but it has Halle Berry putting in work to prove that she’s more than a (seriously) pretty face and some smart moments. (And it will always hold a special place in my heart for giving us this song.)

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

A film about a self-important high schooler running for student council president. Come for the wry humor, stay for Matthew Broderick’s normcore style.

(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

I mean, come on, just look at that photo of Terry Crews. Idiocracy is a cult favorite, starring a roster of somewhat under-appreciated comic talent. To summarize: Two average Joes, Maya Rudolph and Luke Wilson (the thinking person’s favorite Wilson), are frozen and wake up in the future to discover that they are the smartest people in an America overrun with corporate sponsorship and a former wrestler turned president. Funny, a tiny bit scary, and did I mention it has Terry Crews. Very much a love it or hate it selection.

(Image credit: IFC Films)

Written and directed by Armando Iannucci, the profane genius behind VEEP, In the Loop focuses on the political relationship between the US and the UK. The banter is fast, the characters are angry and the jokes are especially cutting. Your blood pressure will be raised but it is totally cathartic.

100% not a movie, 100% delightful.