The Oath Review

The Oath Poster

It’s easy to say that today’s political climate is ripe for some sort of satire and there’s a ton out there already. “I Love You, America,” “Who is America,” and “Our Cartoon President” are just some of the comedic satires out there that poke fun at our country’s current state. Yet Ike Barinholtz’s The Oath aims to take it up a notch by poking fun at the extreme liberals and conservatives. But with the comedic talents of Ike Barinholtz and Tiffany Haddish, is The Oath the kind of sharp political satire that we expect it to be?

Unfortunately, no. The Oath is an unamusing film that wastes the comedic talents of the cast. It’s a film that takes itself way too seriously and that’s the film’s biggest problem.

The Oath follows Chris, a liberal who strongly opposes the President’s loyalty oath. With the deadline for signing the oath coming the day after Thanksgiving, Chris and his wife, Kai must survive Thanksgiving with Chris’ crazy family and the deadline for the oath hanging over their head.

The Oath - 1 of 9 Nora Dunn, Ike Barinholtz, Chris Ellis, Carrie Brownstein, Tiffany Haddish, Jon Barinholtz, & Meredith Hagner

The Oath had the opportunity to become a witty and socially relevant satire. A new version of Idiocracy, if you will. However, the biggest problem with The Oath is that it takes itself way too seriously. While other satires embrace the ridiculousness, the film decides to ground the film in reality. With The Oath, the film comments on the extreme views of the far left and right. So you can imagine how obnoxious these characters are.

That’s where the film fails the most. Instead of being an outrageous political satire, the film is extremely annoying. Not to mention, it’s cringeworthy too since a lot of the gags don’t hit its mark. Besides who wants to hear the extreme left and right squabble for an entire theatrical runtime. It gets old really fast.

That’s not to say that the film isn’t entirely funny. There are jokes and moments of slapstick that definitely hit its mark. This is especially true with the interactions between Chris and Abbie. Seeing them argue over the littlest thing is the kind of ridiculousness that this film sorely needs. However, these hilarious moments are few and far between.

This is primarily due to the obnoxious behavior by Chris. He is easily one of the most annoying characters in a film in recent memory. It’s not even a close competition either. But he’s not the only one. A majority of the family is incredibly annoying too. They are loud and have loud opinions as well.

The Oath - Ike Barinholtz & Tiffany Haddish

Yet the most unexpected thing is that there are two sides to this film. The film goes through a complete tonal shift at one point in the film. This tonal shift isn’t a gradual shift either, it’s a sudden shift that’ll make you wonder if you’re watching the same film. Now instead of a comedic satire, we get a film full of tension.

Ike Barinholtz is normally a funny guy with his dry comedic performances. But in The Oath, he is so completely irritating that you’ll begin to dislike him more as the film goes on. If this is what Barinholtz is going for then mission accomplished.

The Oath almost wastes the natural comedic talents of Tiffany Haddish. She has moments where her comedic talents come out but most of the time it’s not there. It is nice seeing her in a more dramatic role since she can show some emotion.

Overall, The Oath is an extremely unfunny social and political satire. It’s shocking because if you have Ike Barinholtz and Tiffany Haddish as your stars then the film SHOULD be funny. But its decision to take itself too seriously is what eventually brings down this film. We live in a crazy time and it would be nice if a film reflects that.

Rating: 2/5 atoms

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