Political satire needs creative juice to hit its targets. The livewire in Our Brand is Crisis is Sandra Bullock who is fiercely funny and touching as “Calamity Jane” Bodine. She’s an American campaign strategist now jobbing in Bolivia to jumpstart the stalled presidential campaign of Castillo (Joaquim de Almeida). Jane’s allergic to everything in Bolivia, from the altitude to Castillo’s arrogance. She can play dirty, but not as dirty as her old foe Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton doing a hilarious take on real-life strategist James Carville), who is repping the leading candidate, Rivera (Louis Arcella).
Based on Rachel Boynton’s 2005 documentary, this fictional spin on a real election makes a timely fit for today’s campaign antics. Director David Gordon Green and screenwriter Peter Straughan sometimes stumble over this vast terrain of self-serving scoundrels (Trump trumps anything they can make up), but the laughs keep firing. And Bullock, in tandem with Thornton and a stellar Zoe Kazan as a researcher who actually understands the country she’s gaming, never lets hypocrisy out of her comic kill zone.