Gregory Kirschling
January 24, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

How Arnold Won the West

Current Status
In Season

We gave it a C-

Thinking back on the 2003 California recall, I think it is rather nuts that voters yanked Gov. Gray Davis out of office and elected — from a mess of 135 candidates — Arnold Schwarzenegger, the guy who got barfed on by a camel in Conan the Destroyer. But the cockeyed cavalcade isn’t made very shocking in How Arnold Won the West, a disdainful doc interesting only in the way it reveals how Arnold neatly strong-armed the press corps. BBC producer Alex Cooke, who directed and narrates, is obviously aping Nick Broomfield, the muckraking Brit behind dark American-pop guerrilla docs like Biggie & Tupac, but she lacks revelation. And narration like ”Now I get it: This whole campaign is being staged for TV,” or ”I’m beginning to think the election is less about issues and more about marketing muscle,” really makes her sound more like she’s from out of town.

EXTRAS Dull outtakes and a campaign ad by Mary Carey, the porn-star ”Kick Ass” candidate who promised, ”I won’t screw the public.”

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