A big time political strategist (Steve Carell), still stinging from Mrs. Clinton’s loss, spends the summer in South Carolina, helping to turn a retired veteran (Chris Cooper) into the Democratic mayor of a small conservative town. If you’re determined to pattern a Red State/Blue State variation on Frank Capra, there aren’t too many actors out there better suited to assume the Jimmy Stewart role than Cooper. But director Jon Stewart shifts the focus from Mr. Smith to Carell’s variation on Boss Jim Taylor, with Rose Byrne in the Jean Arthur role. The ending is nothing short of ingenious; be sure to stick around during the closing credits, wherein campaign finance expert Trevor Potter validates Stewart’s brilliance. But the level of the banter exchanged between Carell and Byrne seldom rises above that of penis jokes, making many of their exchanges easy to resist. The star of the show is Mackenzie Davis as Cooper’s clear-thinking daughter; let’s hope she can live long enough off the interest of her Terminator earnings to keep energizing low-budget films with her formidable presence. (2020) — Scott Marks
This movie is not currently in theaters.