Review: Maximum Truth
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
A satirical political mockumentary should be an easy home-run, especially with comedy maven Ike Barinholtz and the talented Dylan O’Brien as the co-stars. However, Maximum Truth fails to deliver on all fronts, stumbling through mishandled scenarios without ever finding its comedic stride. Despite the occasional humorous reaction shot or facial expression, the script proves to be lackluster and the messaging painfully on-the-nose, lacking any subtlety. Unfortunately, Maximum Truth offers little beyond surface-level chuckles.
The Plot and Characters
Maximum Truth introduces us to Rick Klingman (played by Barinholtz), an attorney and consultant who dubs himself a “truth provider” and is willing to do anything for money. Rick’s job is to help people “get their truth out there,” as we see in a funny scene where he leads the picketing of a play written by Seth Rogen that claims President Lincoln was involved in a gay relationship. Rick’s character is never taken seriously; he shares absurd stories about his weight loss journey and rants about online insults. When eccentric Mary Jo (Beth Grant), the wife of a fracking tycoon, hires Rick to take down a young democratic candidate (Max Minghella), Rick teams up with his best friend Simon (O’Brien), an entrepreneur and activist, to uncover potential dirt on the candidate.
O’Brien’s performance steals the show from the very beginning, as Simon promotes his ridiculous and misspelled weight loss supplement called “Shreded.” The chemistry between Barinholtz and O’Brien is almost great, but the film fails to fully capitalize on their camaraderie, leaving them to deserve a better movie built around their talents.
A Missed Opportunity
As a fan of O’Brien, I appreciated how the film presents him through the female gaze, highlighting his physical appeal. However, these moments do little to salvage the movie. The corruption plotline within the film takes a dive into sexual depravity, or so we think. But even this storyline fails to engage the audience effectively.
A Glaring Highlight and Overall Disappointment
In an otherwise disastrous film, Maximum Truth manages to have one redeeming quality – a memorable press conference near the end. However, this single scene cannot save the movie from its hollow and disappointing script. As a lover of mockumentary films, particularly those by Christopher Guest, I found Maximum Truth to be a major letdown. The talent of the cast far exceeds the material they were given.
Despite its insipid nature, the presence of Dylan O’Brien and Ike Barinholtz ensures that the film never becomes outright boring. However, next time, the audience hopes for a script that simmers longer to fully leverage the skills of the talented cast. Maximum Truth is currently available in limited release theaters and streaming on VOD.