A raunchy satire of a drug-fueled Tour de France.
Directed by Jake Szymanski
Starring Andy Samberg, Freddie Highmore, and Daveed Diggs
Initial Review by Shane Setnor
Tour de Pharmacy is built upon a foundation of something that exists. It relies on something true. It’s a mockumentary that takes on the seriousness of sports documentaries, the rampant and obvious drug abuse in cycling, and the ridiculousness of cycling around France for a month. (I love that they seriously use the HBO Sports logo in the beginning and never bother explaining that this is a joke.)
For example, the deft touch of Samberg’s character representing “Africa” to the ire of Africans is a great balance of subtlety and overt anger. The movie mostly lets us judge Marty Hass without being telling us he’s a piece of shit. And rather than telling the viewer they should be offended on the behalf of “Africans,” we get some great lines from Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and company. “Are you talking about Marty Hass? Fuck Marty Hass!” We all know a white guy who claims to represent people of color because of where he grew up. Hass is more absurd than the guy you know, but his character works because it’s based on a truth.
(For example of a character that doesn’t work in this setting is Lena Dunham’s turn as representing a clothing designed for Jordache in 7 Days of Hell. That character doesn’t exist in the real world and her only attribute was bad hair and old clothing coupled with the fact that Lena Dunham isn’t very funny. There was no truth or substance behind that character.)
Even when this movie veers off course, the bits work. The explanation of blood doping via Phylicia Rashad’s angry animator is a bizarre turn that had me laughing out loud. Likewise, the Scandinavian credit card commercial, which is based on actual Scandinavian commercials (look it up), breaks up the monotony of the dry interviews with the athletes.
From the bedrock of truth underneath this movie to all the cameos to all of the sideshows, this movie is inherently rewatchable. It’s about as good as a mockumentary can be. I have nothing to complain about.