Laughs Are Free

Free Lunch Express 
Stars: Malcolm McDowell as the narrator, with Jessica Jade Andres, Elaine Ballace, Sudana Bobatoon, Sam Britton, Jonah Britton, Lisa Blake Richards, Kevin Sorbo, Gabrielle Sanalito, Robert William Campbell. Cynthia Kania, Don Frankel and Charles Hutchins
Director/Scriptwriter: Lenny Britton
Cinematography: Jon Vasquez
Right and Funny Productions
Rating: not rated but could be strong PG 13
Running Length: 80 Minutes 

This film is about Bernie Sanders who ran for President in 2016.  Narrated by none other than one of my favorite actors, Malcolm McDowell, who was a favorite villain in the action film, “Blue Thunder.” Now, we find Mr. McDowell seated in front of a fireplace, wearing a smoking jacket and telling the life story of Bernie Sanders. In this---and I hesitate to call it a biopic---Sanders is not shown in a good light.  

Bernie Sanders is played by three actors.  As a young man by Jonah Britton, in his twenties-thirties by Sam Britton and as an older man, by Charles Hutchins.  Sam Britton steals the show with hair that flies around his head, an accent from who-knows-where, and the idea that life owes him a living and he is going to collect.  Beginning in Brooklyn, 1956, we see the young Bernie idealizing the Communist Manifesto and thinking Stalin is a good leader. This carries through Bernie’s life in the film, as “Stalin” (Robert William Campbell) comes to him as an advisor with a sense of humor, too.  This Socialist influence is Bernie’s life, even after having George Washington (Kevin Sarbo) seated next to him on a bus. Bernie figures his way to get a “free lunch ticket” is to run for political office, after all, there are all those free campaign lunches/dinners. His idea being “use taxpayers’ money and not bank money.”  Even when Bernie loses elections, there is still food. The guy actually gets elected Mayor and then runs for Congress and wins and then runs for President. 

There are times when 80 minutes seems like a long time for this film.  Think “Saturday Night Live” going on and on and on and you wish someone would throw water on the fireplace so everyone could go home.  Humor is somewhat slapstick so that you almost expect a pie to come into the scene.  The best part is a scene with Bernie, Hilary Clinton, Bill Clinton and Bernie’s wife, Mary Jane. Cynthia Kania does Hilary Clinton so well, and watch her hand gestures.  Bill Clinton manages to get in a word, or two and watch his exit from the scene. 

If you like “Saturday Night Live” humor, you may like this film. Otherwise, the humorous parts are few and far between.  This is a film designed to tackle a public figure in a teasing mode, and sometimes it works and sometimes doesn’t. I was counting the minutes. 


Copyright 2020 Marie Asner