In the 1990s D.C. Productions launched its blockbuster franchise with the megahits Fiscal Crisis I and Fiscal Crisis II. These gripping, suspenseful films pitted two philandering and mendacious politicians in epic struggles. In the end the president, a charming rogue played by Bill Clinton bested the house speaker, portrayed as despicable crybaby by Newt Gingrich.
Amateurish attempts to prolong this franchise, Fiscal Crisis III in 2011 and Fiscal Crisis IV in 2012 were box office and critical flops. Why then did D.C. Production just release perhaps the worst movie ever made Fiscal Crisis V?
As in the previous Crisis films the nation is rift by two warring political parties: the Fools and the Knaves. The Fools want to raise taxes for government programs that don't work while the Knaves want to enrich themselves while impoverishing, imprisoning or bombing everyone else.
The absurd premise of Fiscal Crisis V is the Knaves threat to force a government default unless a health care law is tweaked. This seems inexplicable since the Fools, displaying their customary ineptitude, assure that no one can actually sign up for the new health plan. Nonetheless the audience is asked to believe that the very concept of expanding health care coverage enrages the Knaves to the point of lunacy.
As default approaches, Fiscal Crisis V degrades into farce. In return for raising the debt ceiling the Knaves demand health law delay, fast-track authority to overhaul the tax code, construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, offshore oil and gas production and more permitting of energy exploration on federal lands.
That's not all. Straining credulity the Knaves also demand a roll back regulations on coal ash, block new Environmental Protection Agency regulations on greenhouse gas production, eliminate a $23 billion fund to ensure the orderly dissolution of failed major banks, eliminate mandatory contributions to the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, limit medical malpractice lawsuits and increase means testing for Medicare, among other provisions.
Then in plot twist that leave viewers stupefied, the Knaves forget their long list and demand that their own staff members be penalized. Predictably, an 11th-hour deal avoids default for four more months, just in time for D.C. Productions to roll out Fiscal Crisis VI.
Unlike the earlier Crisis movies with Clinton and Gingrich involved in constant affairs with staff members, Crisis V has no sexual subplots. Apparently the producers realize that none of the stars posses a scintilla of sex appeal.
The casting is even worse than the plot. Once again Barack Obama is miscast as the president. (How did D.C. productions overlook Morgan Freeman for the part of the first African-American president?) In place of the deliciously Machiavellian Newt Gingrich, John Boehner portrays the house speaker as a hopeless incompetent who cries often but cannot even lie well. Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell are wooden, boring and not credible as deal-making Senate leaders.
The introduction of new character actors is Fiscal Crisis V's only redeeming feature. Ted Cruz nearly steal the show as deranged, scorched-earth Texas senator. Comedienne Ted Yoho is hilarious as the clueless large animal veterinarian somehow elected to congress who, with a straight face, asserts that default "would bring stability to the world markets."
I understand that D.C. Productions will give starring roles to Cruz and Yoho in Fiscal Crisis VI.