Film: Yes Men Are Revolting, The (2014)

July 12, 2015 | By


YesMenAreRevolting_poster_sFilm: Very Good

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Genre:  Documentary / Comedy

Synopsis: Juggling their respective mid-life crises, the infamous activists and pranksters known as the Yes Men nevertheless manage to exact more outrageous pranks on the world stage.

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Infamous social activists / pranksters Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonnano return in this follow-up to their hit documentary The Yes Men Fix the World (2009), which chronicled their often wacky efforts in mounting elaborate pranks at major international media events to hammer home governmental idiocies, corruption, and blatant hypocrisy.

While the duo showcase a series of new pranks in their second film, the emphasis is partly on shaming bad business relationships and governmental stances that show a complete disregard for climate change and worsening environmental disasters, but the story that slowly emerges during the pair’s globe-trotting antics is whether after years of activities their efforts have any meaning or have made any indelible impressions on the minds of the pranked, or even audiences. There’s also Bonanno’s decision to move to Scotland with his wife and expanding family, leaving Bichelbaum to go solo in one venture, albeit with a capable entourage of like-minded pranksters.

The pranks are innately hysterical, even when they flop – a trip to Holland and impersonating representatives of Russia’s Gazprom goes kerplooptivookt – but there’s a special delight in seeing steely, over-confident corporate figures scrambling to reclaim their legitimate positions in front baffled audiences and live media feeds. Impersonating Canada’s own environment bigwigs is especially pleasing – the government of Prime Minster Harper’s regressive measures rightly earned the administration the Fossil of the Year Award in 2011 – but it’s the finale in which both pranksters have reassembled to punk a conference attended by arms dealers that’s jaw-dropping for its audaciousness and success.

That last doozy gives the doc its needed closure, and reaffirms the boys’ career goal to continue shaming bad policies, and hope for genuine change in the near future.

The Yes Men Are Revolting is currently showing at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema this week in an exclusive engagement.



© 2015 Mark R. Hasan



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