White House Down – Call It White House Dumb – Review

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Photo Courtesy SONY

Why does Hollywood so badly want to blow up the White House this year?

Seriously!  White House Down is the SECOND movie of 2013 to portray some sort of terrorist attack on La Casa De Obama, and it’s also the second best of the two.

Channing Tatum stars as John Cale – war vet working with the Capitol Police assigned to protect the Speaker of the House.  He scores a tour of the White House to impress his 11-year old political geek daughter, Emily (Joey King), and get a brief interview for a gig with the Secret Service, but, of course, it turns out to be the worst day ever to tour the White House when a group of paramilitary terrorists break in, take over and try to kidnap President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx).  

Cale ends up saving the Prez, and needs to find a way to get him out of harm’s way, while the government falls apart and the bad guys keep shooting at them and trying to blow stuff up.

They should just call this movie White House Dumb.  

It is possible to make an exciting thriller about terrorists taking over the White House that doesn’t offend our sensibilities in a post-9/11 world.  That movie was called Olympus Has Fallen.  It came out back in March, and will be available on DVD in August, if you want to put some sort of reminder on your calendar.

White House Down is the ridiculous way to make this movie as it is too campy, full of too much inappropriate humor and comes off like an overall parody of a good, exciting thriller.

Director Roland Emmerich desperately wants this to have that Die Hard vibe with plenty of one-liners and wisecracks, tossing in a stereotypical tour guide who loves his job too much to be realistic in the worst of times (Nicolas Wright), a couple of right wing zealots embodying every overblown Hollywood thought about the right (Andrew Simms and Kevin Rankin), the computer hacker who is more idiotic than edgy (Jimmi Simpson), and so many double crosses and triple crosses you need a map to keep track of alliances.

You know Emmerich as the guy who helped bring you Independence Day 17 years ago, but he shouldn’t be trying to revive that tone.  Emmerich is tone deaf.  You can’t have this campy farce anymore when related to a terrorist act.  Joking around while the West Wing is full of bullets and the bad guys are positioning surface to air missiles on the roof of the White House feels distasteful.

17 years ago when sensitivities and fears were so much different, wisecracking Will Smith was funny and we could laugh at Randy Quaid’s antics.  In 2013, wisecracking Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum feels icky and destroys any chance at credibility this movie might be seeking.  

1_5waffles_sml1 ½ Waffles (Out of 4)

White House Down is rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action and violence including intense gunfire and explosions, some language and a brief sexual image.


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