Five Iowa grad students, liberals who’d get a big kick out of Al Franken’s best-selling Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot, invite stranger Bill Paxton to dinner. The charming ex-Marine turns out to be a right-wing bigot, rapist and killer, Paxton is sensationally creepy and much missed when one student stabs him to save the group. All five are scared at first — they bury the Marine out back — then oddly excited. They start inviting over other annoying conservatives on Sundays. Conversation is followed by poison wine for the guest and another grave in the garden, which yields some fine tomatoes.
It shouldn’t work. Shot on the cheap for $500,000 in 18 days, the film is a series of dinner setups with victims played by Jason Alexander, Mark Harmon, Bryn Erin, Charles Durning and a memorable Ron Perlman as a Limbaugh-like TV jerk. But it does work, owing to kinetic direction by Stacy Title in her feature debut, a whip-smart script by Dan Rosen and terrific performances by Jonathan Penner (Title’s husband), Cameron Diaz, Ron Eldard, Annabeth Gish and Courtney B. Vance as the PC quintet. This fiendishly funny political thriller skewers the right and the left with equal glee and marks Title as a talent to watch.