Ike Barinholtz makes his directorial debut with The Oath, a dark political comedy that hits a little too close to home. The premise itself is a little outrageous: a Thanksgiving dinner, typically the setting for some tense family stand-offs, turns violent when politics come into the fray. But the reason for this escalation of one of the worst family gatherings of the year is a controversial White House policy that honestly could be enacted in the real world.
The Oath Trailer
You know 2018 is a hellscape when a supposed political satire is based around a premise that could easily take place in reality. Well, except for the accidental murder of government agents.
Written and directed by Ike Barinholtz, the Blockers actor stars alongside Girls Trip breakout Tiffany Haddish (who is on a hot streak of comedy roles lately) as one-half of a progressive couple who are shocked when the White House introduces a policy requiring U.S. citizens to sign a loyalty oath to the president. There’s no hiding what president this film is making digs at — though The Oath is less about the current Cheeto-in-Chief as it is about the family drama that it triggers. You see, citizens are required to sign the oath the day after Thanksgiving, which is just a recipe for disaster. And disaster does come, in the form of the visiting in-laws who report the couple, Chris and Kai, for impeding their right to sign the oath. John Cho and Billy Magnussen arrive as two Homeland Security agents, and well, things spiral from there.
The red band trailer above gives a tongue-in-cheek display of the chaotic events that unfold, which include a fight with a federal agent, and a haphazard plan to flee to Mexico. The Oath seems like a strong directorial debut for Barinholtz, who has been stealing scenes in raunchy comedies like Blockers and the Neighbors films for the past few years in addition to co-penning the Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart-led action/comedy Central Intelligence in 2016.
Barinholtz writes and directs The Oath, which also stars Carrie Brownstein, Meredith Hagner, Jon Barinholtz, Nora Dunn, and Chris Ellis.
Here is the official synopsis for The Oath:
A controversial White House policy turns family member against family member in THE OATH, a savagely funny dark comedy about surviving life and Thanksgiving in the age of political tribalism. When Chris (Ike Barinholtz), a high-strung 24-hour progressive news junkie, and his more levelheaded wife Kai (Tiffany Haddish) learn that citizens are being asked to sign a loyalty oath to the President, their reaction is disbelief, followed by idealistic refusal. But as the Thanksgiving deadline to sign approaches, the combination of sparring relatives, Chris’s own agitation and the unexpected arrival of two government agents (John Cho and Billy Magnussen) sends an already tense holiday dinner gathering completely off the rails. As timely as it is outrageous, THE OATH is a gleefully wicked reinvention of the traditional holiday comedy for our divisive political times.
The Oath opens in theaters on September 25, 2018.
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