Release Date: June 22, 2012 (Limited)
Directed by: Stephen Gyllenhaal
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Stars: Jason Biggs, Lauren Ambrose, Joel David Moore, Cedric the Entertainer, Tom Arnold and Cobie Smulders
Stars: 2 out of 5
“Grassroots” is a captivating movie based on the book “Zioncheck for President,” written by the real Phil Campbell. This movie starts when the unheard-of Grant Cogswell (Joel David Moore) makes a decision to take down Seattle city councilman Richard McIver (Cedric the Entertainer). Grant is enraged over McIver’s proposal and support of the construction of a ground train over a monorail. Grant fights the proposal as he thinks the ground rail train will cause a lot of damage to the environment, wreck lower-class neighborhoods and even destroy the city. Grant’s campaign initially seems like a lost cause, as he does not even have people to contribute to his campaign. However, he convinces his friend Phil Campbell (Jason Biggs) to help him with his campaign. Although Phil does not have the best ideas on how to run for the councilman’s seat, his positive attitude is handy during the campaign. Despite of his limited knowledge of politics, he is able to recruit a mass of young volunteers to back the crusade, and then the unbelievable starts to happen.
A lot of credit ought to be given to the writers and the director of this film for basing the story on politics. It is evident that politics is a tough subject, and it is even tougher these days when everything in it seems discordant. Note that “Grassroots” as a movie primarily focuses on Seattle, yet anyone from anywhere in the United States can easily relate to it.
Stephen Gyllenhaal’s passion for politics is evident. While not many people might have heard of him, he is a brilliant writer and director. He allows the story to shine. He brings out the American dream theme, which every American can relate to.
“Grassroots” presents Grant Cogswell as a theatrical guy, and he really has an unusual personality. However, the director makes Grant relatable. Joel David Moore easily fits into his role as a passionate yet arrogant and patronizing character.
Amid all the seriousness you will still find humor in the movie. If you are an “American Pie” movies enthusiast, you have to admit that the role played by Jason Biggs in this movie is quite refreshing. It is almost peculiar to see him take a straight man role in “Grassroots.” His interaction with the idiotic character presented by Cogswell will definitely get you laughing.
Other cast members worth mentioning include Lauren Ambrose and Tom Arnold. Lauren Ambrose plays Phil’s girlfriend, who initially does not seem excited with the idea of him being a political campaigner. Tom Arnold, on the other hand, is the supportive bar owner.
The movie perhaps focuses too much on Seattle, leaving out people from other areas. However, any person from any part of the world can easily relate to the problems and misfortunes facing the people of Seattle. Grant’s role clearly tells people out there that they can always make a change if they have the zeal and passion.
This movie is primarily an underdog story, which is a much-loved theme in Hollywood. Nonetheless, “Grassroots” is an entertaining family movie with loads of inspiration.