Case Number 15047: Small Claims Court


Eagle Rock Entertainment // 2008 // 150 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // November 19th, 2008

The Charge

One nation. Impersonated.

The Case

Tracey Ullman is officially a new American citizen, and as such she has a lot to say about what we as a country obsess about. Her latest Showtime series allows her to star as...well...the only way to describe this is she sets out to impersonate just about everyone living here in the 50 states. From making fun of A-list celebs like Cameron Diaz and Renee Zellweger to poking her finger at Z-grade notables like Dina Lohan and Campbell Brown, nobody is safe from her take on them. Ullman even plays a Bollywood-obsessed Indian pharmacist who sings and dances her way through the warnings of a supply of Viagra for an elderly customer. She's one woman cast as an army of thousands, and that's what makes Tracey Ullman's State of the Union so damn funny and compelling. It's a comedy show, but even more charming is it's a not very gentle social satire that shows the lunatic fringe that comprises the American melting pot. Each episode covers one day in the USA, and we go from one character to the next never staying more than a minute or three with each one. Every show is 30 minutes, and there are only five episodes making up the first season, meaning you're always left wanting more.

The Eagle Rock Entertainment DVD includes the entire run and 30 minutes of bonus footage, which encompasses a variety of different things. The hodgepodge includes animatics for the opening sequence, bloopers, make-up tests, and deleted footage. Some of it has commentary by Tracey, and all of it remains pretty interesting as an addendum to the episodes. The transfers look nice and clear with a solid color palette and appropriate black levels. Surprisingly we have two soundtrack options including a surround five speaker or simple two channel mix. Both audio tracks concentrate largely on the dialogue, but there are a few ambient effects to round it all out. This is a nicely appointed DVD even down to the environmentally friendly, all-paper packaging.

Tracey is a brilliant impersonator and always comes up with thought-provoking humor that is both funny and sad simultaneously. A lot of people may find this series a little too esoteric and even borderline offensive because Ullman pulls no punches and isn't afraid to put on a racially charged disguise. I've read where people think there is no theme to the episodes, that Ullman is just doing schtick without end. They're missing the subtlety of each thread, and misunderstanding the brilliance of what she is capturing includes the ridiculous sides to anybody's life in the modern world of the United States. She's at her best when poking holes at fellow ex-pats like David Beckham and his vapid wife Posh Spice. This is a unique view of what's so wonderful and terrible about her new chosen country, and it's a blast to see her take on it. Only a recent immigrant could take on these topics like healthcare, celebrity obsession, and how silly our fear-mongering news machine has become, and make them feel fresh. Tracey Ullman's State of the Union: Complete Season One represents the odd combination of an American dream coupled with the constitutional first right to make fun of it.

Review content copyright © 2008 Brett Cullum; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 88

Perp Profile
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Video Formats:
* 1.77:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

* None

Running Time: 150 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Bonus Footage

* IMDb

* Official Site