Review: Funny or Die Unleashes 50-Minute Johnny Depp-Starring Anti-Trump Screed


On Wednesday, the leftist humor site Funny or Die unleashed an interminably unfunny 50-minute fake biopic of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, The Art of The Deal.

The cast is star-studded: introduced by Ron Howard, with Trump played by a not-very-good Johnny Depp, Merv Griffin by the execrable Patton Oswalt, and Ivana Trump by Michaela Watkins (the only thing worth watching in the piece). Variety praised the “sheer gall” of The Art of The Deal, but even they had to admit that it’s a “slim construct” and that “mocking him in this fashion amounts to preaching to the liberal choir.”

The Art of The Deal plays like an inside joke among a bunch of drunken Hollywoodites who spent the evening digging rejected Saturday Night Live sketches from a flaming dumpster. I’m no Trump fan – I think he’s vulgar, empty and egomaniacal, with a significant authoritarian streak. But the fact that an Oscar-nominated director convinced Johnny Depp to spend four days imitating Trump circa 1986 – and doing it badly, by the way – demonstrates just where Hollywood puts its heart. ABC can refuse to release The Path to 9/11 at the behest of the Clintons, but top-billing stars will waste their off-hours on drek like this. They’ll leap at the chance to call Trump a racist, sexist, bigoted Nazi sympathizer.

The Art of The Deal opens with Ron Howard introducing the film. “Tonight, this classic portrait of a New York real estate mogul at the height of his reign, made by the man himself, will be shown in its entirety for the very first time,” he says. This, as they say, is the hook.

The entire discombobulated effort is built around a series of flashbacks revolving around Trump attempting to buy the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City from Merv Griffin. Trump, we learn, has always lusted after the Taj Mahal ever since he saw a picture of the original building: “easily the classiest thing ever built by a Muslim.” Then, in true 1980s fashion, the filmmakers set up the narrative by having a kid accidentally stumble into Trump’s office, where he receives a 50-minute long life lecture from The Donald, complete with lessons on placards. Meanwhile, Trump negotiates with enraged dwarf Oswalt (Merv Griffin) over buying the building, even as everyone ignores his birthday. “This is a place I dreamt about owning since before I had orange pubic hair,” Trump tells the kid.

Yes, it’s that kind of humor.

After Griffin tells Trump that he won’t sell him the Taj Mahal – that he’d rather sell it to an A-rab, shouting “Allahu Akhbar!” — Trump yells like a child and pounds his desk. He then tells the kid, whose father died in Vietnam, “It’s more heroic not to get killed.” He brags about intimidating rent-controlled tenants, flashes back to being sued by Ed Koch (complete with requisite anti-Semitic references by Trump), and then flashes back again to meeting lawyer Roy Cohn at Le Club, a place where “powerful white men meet to do business.”

Back in 1986, we meet Trump’s new lawyer, Jerry Schrager (Alfred Molina), and Trump makes some more anti-Semitic jokes, calling Schrager an “absolute Jewish animal…he will bite off your pecker…Show the kid your cock-chompers.” He forces Schrager to re-enact biting off a penis.

Highbrow humor at its finest.

And we’re still only 20 minutes in. By this point, I was desperately hoping for an EMP to fry my electronics just to save myself half an hour.

But no – the idiocy continued. Trump goes to the bathroom, where he frets over not buying the Taj Mahal (“I think I just had an Oscar moment,” Trump says). When he emerges, the kid in his office says, “It just seems like whoever has the most money and the most Jewish lawyers has an unfair advantage.” Trump says, “You got it, kid.” Trump calls for the Fat Boys. The Fat Boys then rap about suing people.

If all of this sounds like Will Ferrell’s fever dream, you’ve hit it on the head.

Trump flashes back to 1983 and his lawsuit against the NFL. When he comes back to reality in 1986, he realizes the kid is named Jose, and has him replaced on the set. The new kid is Asian.

Next, we meet Ivana Trump, whom Trump brutalizes physically and emotionally, while commenting on her breasts and her vagina (“she kept things relatively tight downstairs”). The comedic masterpiece then flashes back to Trump’s wedding day with best man Alf. Yes, the doll Alf. Director McKay really pulls out all the stops.

Merv Griffin calls again for the 1,465th time. Trump tells him he doesn’t need the Taj Mahal in order to negotiate with him.

Now we meet Trump’s architect, Der Scutt (Jack McBrayer); Trump calls him a Nazi, then tells him not to rip Hitler, forcing Scutt to give a Nazi salute. For good measure, Trump dumps the Asian kid, gets a black kid, and then dumps him for a white kid.

McKay and company have apparently never met a Trump joke they wouldn’t give the full Rodney King treatment.

Trump flashes back to building the Trump Tower, and recalls the process of knocking down the original art deco building. In the process, he makes a joke about shooting people on 5th Avenue and how Mexicans degrade buildings.

Don’t worry – we’re nearing the end. Stick with me.

Back in his office, Trump tells the kid, “I’ve ruined lives, destroyed careers, blown up landmarks to get what I want, and yet I’m always left feeling empty.” The kid says, “Maybe there’s a hole inside that can’t be filled with buildings, maybe it can only be filled with humility and love.” Trump says “Nah, I just need the Taj Mahal.” At this point, Griffin shows up and gives him the Taj Mahal. Just before Trump is about to blow out the candles, however, Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) shows up from the future to tell Trump that if he blows out the candles, he’ll set off a catastrophic chain of events in which he becomes president. At this point, President Trump shows up and says he killed Christopher Lloyd to stop him from making Back to the Future.

Trump blows out the candles, and in true 1980s fashion, switches bodies with the kid. The kid says “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful movie franchise.”

Roll credits.

Over the credits, Trump explains his theme: “You just have to f-ck the other party in the stupid pig face as hard as you can, because the only thing that matters is you. And by you, I mean me. So, f-ck you, f-ck foreigners, f-ck dogs, f-ck cats…And let me pre-emptively give another finger to the critics….I really, really don’t want to die. And I won’t. Ever.”

What a work of staggering comedic genius.

It wouldn’t be offensive for Hollywood to spend time on bashing Trump – that’s their prerogative, although they would never do the same to the just-as-mockable Clinton family. It’s that Hollywood churned out this toilet-bowlful of artistic diarrhea proudly. A solid rip on Trump would be funny. But this isn’t even good. And it’s that lack of quality that’s so insulting. Hollywood simply assumes that everyone watching will laugh at Trump because he’s Trump, so there’s no reason to even try. As John Nolte often says, the folks in Hollywood are Bubble Dumb. Ironically, their failed smear of Trump will actually force people into sympathy for Trump because it’s so bad. If you’re going to take a shot at a major figure, you have to hit him. Hollywood didn’t. Trump is still standing. It’s the Hollywood comedy clique that fell on its face.

Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News, Editor-in-Chief of, and The New York Times bestselling author, most recently, of the book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.


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