Rated 1.0

Long-winded, dreadfully noble and blithely slanderous, Trumbo is the sort of film that gives liberal pap a bad name. Bryan Cranston stars as screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, an avowed Communist and American patriot whose career was sent underground by the House Un-American Activities Committee and the Hollywood blacklist. After serving an 11-month prison term, Trumbo reemerged as a highly prolific pseudonymous screenwriter of B-movies and Oscar-winning prestige pictures, eventually helping to crack the blacklist by receiving screen credit on Spartacus. It's a great story, but the real-life Trumbo would defecate all over John McNamara's flabby script, and under the direction of Austin Powers and Meet the Parents overseer Jay Roach, the film feels like a two-hour Saturday Night Live sketch without any jokes, all bad impressions (Dame Helen Mirren as a rabid American Hedda Hopper is just ridiculous) and self-important speechifying. Sample dialogue: “Cough, cough.” “What is it?” “It's cancer!” You get the idea. D.B.