Grassroots - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Grassroots Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ June 28, 2016
This is another one of those movies where quarter ratings would more accurately describe my thoughts about the film. It's definitely better than average, but it's not what I would call a good movie. So, to me, a score of 2.75 would have been more than fair for this movie. It's just a notch below solid. I don't know what the film was lacking, but it was definitely missing something that would've put it over the edge. It's not a consistent comedy, nor do I think it was meant to be. The story is definitely intriguing enough to hold your interest. It's a story about this man who decides to run for the Seattle City Council despite having absolutely no experience in politics at all. Like none whatsoever. He's also going against this councilman on this monorail that Grant, our protagonist,wishes to expand to a city wide one. It would also be less expensive, more accessible to the entire community and be healthier for the earth. As opposed to the alternative, which McIver is pushing forward, which would be louder, it would force land to be used up for this massive ground rail train. Grant also feels it would drive a wedge between the community, it would separate the rich and the poor, with the ground rail train being more accessible to those more affluent. The thing about Grant, however, is that he is clearly very passionate about what he believes in and he speaks with a rage in the tone of his voice that starts to gain him more and more followers to the point where he becomes a legitimate contender for the council seat. I liken it to how Donald Trump has gotten as far as he has. With the only minor exception that, at the very least, Grant is trying to unite the community with his monorail, whereas Trump is trying to create division. Grant is trying to make a positive change in his community versus what Trump is doing, which is trying ostracize certain parts of the United States. Whether it be muslims, mexicans, women or homosexuals, it doesn't matter, Trump is using ignorance to gain voters. At the very least, Grant, in his own special way, is fighting against something that he truly feels is dividing his community, so those are the differences. One of the subplots of the film includes speculation as to why Grant is going against the only black councilman in Seattle and the type of people that are supporting Grant because of that. Which I didn't like, because I felt it was way too forced in there. Maybe there was some of that in real life, but it doesn't really play well in the film, because it sort feels irrelevant. His politics should be the issue, not whether Grant is going after McIver because he's black. So that was kinda lame. But I do like the film in that it doesn't really shy away from portraying Grant as someone who has a lot of good ideas and a lot of love for Seattle, but he's also someone who's paranoid and sometimes even downright unlikable. It's also movie that's as much about Grant's maturation as it is about his improbable political aspirations. The acting is solid, though. Jason Biggs and Joel David Moore were both good in their roles, but their characters weren't exactly all that complex or detailed. The film is predictable, you can see where it is gonna end up, so that holds it back, but only a tad. With that said, the film, as I mentioned, just doesn't always come together as a good overall experience. It will fly by, it doesn't overstay its welcome at all. It's not good, but this is a perfectly fine movie right here.
½ January 20, 2014
At the "root" of this film is a good story. It talks about the power of the people and taking on those that have so much more power than most of us can ever hope to have. Somewhere during the telling of this little homily, however, the audience gets a little bored and distracted. It wouldn't surprise me if the gist of the film was forgotten by most rather quickly.

The movie tries to be relatable. Jason Biggs' character is losing his girlfriend in the process of following his heart's career inspiration. Grant Cogswell, played by actor Joel David Moore, is a bit of a buffoon and lacks the training and refinement that many believe necessary for any serious politician. We can see our college selves in these determined young men; and yet that isn't quite enough to keep us enamored with Stephen Gyllenhaal's script. There seemed to be a certain spark missing... just a little nameless thing that could have made the magic happen on the screen.

The activists among you will enjoy this as a feel good boost. The rest of you may not really care. I'm kind of on the fence, myself, and calling it right down the middle.
½ December 15, 2013
Grassroots is a quiet little dramedy that's very well acted and pleasantly grounded. This true story looses a few points for pacing, but fans of small scale political antics should find it charming.
September 19, 2013
Perhaps not the greatest of political stories but there's a cast that injects plenty of interest, and make it an endearing film. It's a slightly offbeat style but suits the Seattle location.
July 12, 2013
A quirky, energetic movie perfectly suited to its subject matter.
June 29, 2013
A good, but not really great movie. It has a good message--that good causes, no matter how quixotic, are still worth fighting for, and even in our modern day political system, since it is a democracy, there's still a chance. A good idea may not get the go-ahead were you want it, but will win out someplace.
June 22, 2013
Grassroots is about doing something that matters to you. It's about waking up and trying. It's about defining yourself.

The good. Nice simple story. Funny. Interesting characters.

The actors. Jason Biggs gives a solid performance. So does Joel David Moore, even if his character is really annoying, he plays it well.

The bad. Not much happening, but then, there's nothing really wrong with this picture.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. A lightly entertaining film.
April 21, 2013
Grant Cogswell is probably the only likable character in this movie.I think the story at heart gets lost among all the little side stories that end up devouring the film.
February 19, 2013
fantastic film! Audience was laughing the whole time.
½ December 2, 2012
It might have been more interesting to someone who was familiar with Seattle, the monorail, or grassroots politics.
November 18, 2012
Moderately enjoyable, but lacking bite. The Polar Bear outfit steals the show, which arguably isn't that hard!
Super Reviewer
November 5, 2012
Gyllenhaal's film is based on the true story of Grant Cogswell, an out of work music critic who ran for city council in Seattle's 2001 campaign, his ticket a promise to extend the city's monorail in an attempt to make the city more accessible for it's working classes. As portrayed by Moore, he's an unlikable but enthusiastic presence with limited social skills. Running his anarchic campaign is Biggs, an impressive performance as a journalist recently fired from The Stranger for being too political. For the most part the film relies on the usual cliches of the campaign trail with our protagonists setting out with the best intentions but resorting to more and more dirty tricks as their success grows. Cogswell's incumbent opponent is a conservative African-American with ties to big business and the issue of liberal hypocrisy is raised in a way we rarely see with many white liberals preferring to vote for a right-wing black politician than the left-wing Cogswell who best represents their views.
½ October 20, 2012
Grassroots presents an exhilarating story about a few dudes trying to make one of their own a valuable member of the Seattle City Council. With a rather silly campaign, which only promotes the quiet and ecologically-valid monorail, Grant Cogswell decides that he must defeat a long-time Councilman, who, in his opinion, is only making Seattle worse every day. With a bit of romance, some adequate situational jokes, and insightful look at the grassroots movement, the film isn't as bad as some people might claim. The only thing which really bugged me was the fact that the main character and political contender, given his attitude and behavioral tentativeness, was truly nerve-racking and not very likable. And still, the 'power to the people' approach makes the movie a showcase of too-cool-to-be-true guys delivering a rather unbelievable political farce.
October 12, 2012
funny, charming, and moving.
June 24, 2012
Interesting true story that will mean more to those with a Seattle connection.
June 23, 2012
Very funny and inspiring! A great political comedy.
June 23, 2012
We saw the opener yesterday at the Harvard Exit - loved it. And after the movie, had coffee across the street with some movie goer's and Stephen G...was great fun!!!
DeeDee & Keith
June 11, 2012
Jason Biggs plays a more serious role attempting to rein in the antics of his bombastic city council candidate, played by Joel Moore.

Great twist on roles for most of the actors in this film, while leaving Moore to do what he does best. Great display of appreciation for the grassroots movement and the fringe candidates that rely on this for support.

The comedy is heartfelt, relying on characterization more than gags or jokes. And the performances of zany volunteers is tempered by the growth of Phil (Biggs) from disaffected writer/campaign manager to passionate supporter of the cause while being the one sane man in the crowd.
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