Film Capsule: Hyde Park on Hudson

Hyde Park on Hudson is only the third film in which Bill Murray has portrayed an actual person, living or dead. While one cannot fault the man’s ambition – what with taking on the leading role of a three-term president who pulled this country out of Depression – one can most certainly fault the vehicle Murray has chosen to make that crucial leap.

Hyde Park on Hudson does very little to vaunt the towering legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And that’s not because the film exposes Roosevelt as a heavy drinker, a polygamiist, or a wholly insensitive human being (although it most certainly attempts to paint him as all three). It’s because the film is completely mired in bad cliches, worse writing, and absolutely abysmal story choices.

“Here come the British!” – and they’re an intolerable bunch of teetotaling snobs.

“Here come the Americans!” – and they’ve got a wacky, hayseed plot to put one over on the Queen!

What’s it all leading up to? Why, an absolutely absurd climax involving King George and his wiener!

More often than not, Hyde Park finds itself bumbling somewhere between Downton Abbey and Fawlty Towers. Bill Murray made a rare misstep with this film. He’s much better at constructing characters who exist from the ground up.

(Hyde Park on Hudson opens in limited release this week, with plans for a national rollout to follow.)