On the eve of its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, the obnoxiously-titled “Sarah Palin: You Betcha!” has been acquired by Freestyle Releasing. Their aggressive planned strategy involves debuting the film on September 30th in New York and Los Angeles before expanding, though, come on, who are we kidding here? Nick Broomfield, the man behind acclaimed docs “Biggie And Tupac” and “Kurt And Courtney,” co-directed with Joan Churchill, and if the trailer to this doc is any indication, they is preaching to the choir.
Whether it’s a hit job or a thinly-veiled political commercial, people don’t want to spend full price to watch Sarah Palin on the big screen. Her ardent propaganda film “The Undefeated,” (which cannily featured zero on-camera interviews with her) never expanded past fourteen theaters (none of which were in, ahem, “media elite” states) and it ended up with $116k. Of course, “You Betcha!” is bound to perform lower than that by virtue of not playing in as many theaters, but also because it states the obvious: this woman is embarrassing.
One of the easiest things in the world is to keep your integrity and still make a mockery of Ms. Palin, but “You Betcha!” feels like dirty pool. The trailer showcases interviews not with her political associates, but her parents and extended family members. In addition, there’s a smug tone to the proceedings, and a jokey rudeness that implies they don’t take seriously the cult of zealotry this woman defines or the institution of democratic politics themselves. In other words, there was a straight path to a doc that mocked the former Governor, and they took the obnoxious scenic route.