The Trailer For “Vice” is Dark Comedy Brilliance

There’s no doubt Dick Cheney was the most destructive Vice President in history. He designed and built the dark broken world we live in today. So how does the trailer for Vice make his life story seem like a fun time at the movies?

Christian Bale has physically transformed into Dick Cheney. Sam Rockwell melts into George W. Bush. And Steve Carell even fulfills an Anchorman credits prophecy as Donald Rumsfeld.

Despite Bush’s misbegotten recent rehabilitation through his chummy candy-sharing arrangement with Michelle Obama, he was a dimwitted sociopath enabled by more capable sociopaths like Cheney and Rumsfeld. Bush’s presidency led to ecological ruin, economic disaster and endless, pointless war. Vice makes revisiting the dark days of the Bush years palatable by leaning into the farce of Cheney’s disastrous shadow presidency without being sympathetic for him or the other villains surrounding him.

Writer/producer Adam McKay proved he could mine painful recent history for humor without glossing over gory details with The Big Short. The 2008 financial crisis was easy to lampoon because it was orchestrated by blithering, heartless crooks. The same can be said of Cheney’s entry into politics, rise through the GOP ranks and private sector success as CEO of Halliburton (a company that earned nearly $40 billion in defense contracts due to the Iraq War).

Trailers have been known to outshine the actual movies they preview. But from casting to production, Vice appears to have all the right pieces. Even if the movie falls short, we’ll always have Bale’s shirtless Cheney gut.