Rated 2.0

Another smugly contemptuous, aesthetically atrocious, vaguely comedic screed from The Big Short writer-director Adam McKay, this time a tragically overreaching attempt to capture the complexities of snarling Republican supervillain Dick Cheney. The film covers Cheney’s life from his pre-political years as a deadbeat drunk through his 2012 heart transplant, jumping around not just in time but in genres, tones and points of view. McKay wants to demonize and humanize Cheney at the same time, and the effect is like simultaneously watching ten different Dick Cheney biopics, all of them tedious. Abetted by stellar makeup, prosthetics and wig work, Christian Bale does a solid impression of Cheney, and the film gets good supporting work from Amy Adams, Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell, but it mostly feels like a 132-minute sketch. For Cheney-related comedy that more adroitly blends anger, absurdity and intelligence, see almost any random Bush II-era episode of The Daily Show.