Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tabloid (B-)

Errol Morris' new documentary, Tabloid, has one of the most bizarre and unique plots I've ever seen in a film, let alone a documentary. The film centers around Joyce McKinney, a former Miss Wyoming winner with a genius IQ of 169, and her accidentally tabloid fodder life. You see, when Joyce's boyfriend left her to preform his duties as a Mormon missionary in England, rather than move on, she hired two bodyguards and a pilot to take herself to England and "rescue" him from the crazy cult (Mormons) that was destroying their love. And after having one of the hired bodyguards use a fake gun to abduct him, she tied him up on a bed, and proceeded to have sex with him for three days straight. After here, the lines of truth and lies become blurry.

This is such a fascinating story that all Errol Morris would've needed to do to make this an interesting documentary would be to just give a few interviews and call it a day, and that's exactly what he does. Besides a few interviews with McKinney, two tabloid reporters, a regular Mormon man, the pilot to get to England, and a dog cloner (don't ask), there really isn't too much material here. It's sad to see that Errol Morris was denied an interview with Kirk Anderson, McKinney's boyfriend and true love/rape victim. If that interview had been allowed, there might be some thought provoking material to add to this story.

Tabloid is still a very fun movie though. As the story continues, you become more engrossed with what's happening on the screen, and desperately makes you want to know what happens next. Every event in Joyce McKinney's life is just more insane than the last, and by the dog cloning finale comes around, you realize that there is no better ending than dog cloning. How else can you top abducting a Mormon in the name of love?

While there is close to no take away value from this film (other than true love can be found anywhere, from virgin religious Mormons to clone puppies from South Korea), Tabloid should be seen simply for the fun you'll have watching it. Tabloid had the material to become a truly spectacular documentary, but instead settles for being a merely entertaining one. But still, in the world of documentaries, entertaining isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Grade: B-

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