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by Luke Baumgarten & r & Embedded & r & This film is a production of Tim Robbins' anti-war play of the same name, but I'd never heard of either until a random Web search. I checked further and found the Internet floating with a conspicuous dearth of information. Why so little buzz? Was there some insipid (Miramax-ian) corporate balk at a film critical of the Bush presidency keeping it from my DVD player, or were there far more sinister doings afoot? I mean, it had to be something like that. It's an anti-war comedy, right -- a satire? The more I thought about it, the more the lack of coverage pointed to one of those vast, right-wing conspiracies.


That made me really want to see it.


And now, having seen it, I wish I could unsee it. There was no buzz because it's terrible. Permission to speak frankly, Mr. Robbins: Your film is abysmally dull and offers no new insights. We already know embedding reporters doesn't yield good journalism. And yes, Bush is dumb. The country knew that first time they voted for him and the second. Further, I didn't understand your recurring gag about philosopher Leo Strauss. I majored in philosophy, Mr. Robbins.


Karl Rove called; he says you're making his liberal-elitism argument too easy.


Yet the film's also unimaginatively lowbrow. Perhaps to make the film appeal to us, the great unwashed, you use not-at-all-clever character names like "Rum-Rum," "Woof" and "Dick." Then there was that other part, where the drill sergeant says "drop and give me 69." Eighth grade called, Mr. Robbins: They want their sex jokes back.


What this all boils down to, Tim -- can I call you Tim? -- is this: Embedded isn't funny. Not remotely. Yeah, I think ill-wrought wars are worse than illicit Oval Office hand jobs. I'm with you on that, buddy. Just make me laugh for God's sake. I'm begging you. I didn't laugh once. That's one hundred minutes of not laughing, Tim.


The only thing Embedded does well is reinforce the notion that liberals aren't funny. I don't need anyone else demonstrating how to make progressivism seem bloated, elitist and stodgy, Tim. Al Franken does that fine all by himself.

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