‘Maximum Truth’ Shreds Politics of Personal Destruction

Smart, left-leaning mockumentary makes one key error along the way

Ike Barinholtz isn’t shooting fish in a barrel with his new mockumentary. He’s blasting them with an AK-47.

“Maximum Truth” turns the camera on soulless grifters out to squeeze every last penny from our warped political age. Think Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman, the far-right poseurs who often land in hot water for their stunts.

What co-writer Barinholtz does, though, is let us sympathize with these pathetic con men.

Just a little, mind you. Maybe an ounce of empathy. It’s enough to give “Maximum Truth” a satisfying core to build its story.

MAXIMUM TRUTH - Official Trailer

Barinholtz plays Rick Klingman, a grifter who stumbled into his craft after winning some frivolous lawsuits. Now, he’s a hired gun, taking down any politician by digging through their personal dirt.

Even if said dirt doesn’t exist. Why would that matter? It’s politics, right? You can find dirt anywhere. You just have to look hard enough and believe any outlandish story you hear online.

Just ask Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Rick is joined by Simon (Dylan O’Brien), a self-absorbed influencer (redundant?) punching over his intellectual weight.

Together, they’re hoping to torch a candidate (Max Minghella) by finding damaging stories from his past.

“Maximum Truth” stars slowly, offering a few overt laughs while letting us get to know Rick. He’s clearly gay, labeling his male roommate as his professional “assistant” to avoid the obvious. It’s a running gag the film doesn’t lean into enough.

Rick has an answer for everything, a positive spin for any disastrous pivot he’s forced to make. There’s something noble about his ignorance, a willingness to see the glass of spoiled milk as half full.

Simon, given an unexpected comic jolt by O’Brien, is more of a wrecking ball. He’s unbound by morals and eager to hawk his “Shreded” supplement brand (even if he doesn’t know the word has two “Ds” in a row).

The mockumentary never finds its gut-busting moment, but the laughs bubble up as the efficient story movies on. You’ll smile, wince and recognize too much of what happens on screen.


Barinholtz, who contributed to the disappointing “History of the World Part II” project, is an unabashed liberal. He proved that with “The Oath,” a political satire that sank, in part, due to overt partisanship.

Here, the actor/co-screenwriter is tweaking GOP types, but “Maximum Truth” targets a deeply flawed system first and foremost. Yes, a scene where a gun devotee brandishes a weapon goes exactly where you expect it to, but the film understands grifters hail from both parties.

It’s the political climate that needs to be destroyed.

Plus, the scene in question delivers the biggest laugh of the film.

“Maximum Truth” hits the target over and again, but one deserving party comes out unscathed, and it’s the film’s regrettable flaw.


Here, they’re treated like sober, responsible truth-tellers when anyone who follows the news these days knows that’s no longer true.

Reporters even get a “truth to power” moment late in the film that is both unearned and unnecessary. Nauseating.

Otherwise, “Maximum Truth” offers a crush of low-budget laughs hitting targets both sides of the political aisle can agree have it coming.

HiT or Miss: “Maximum Truth” has plenty to say about the state of political theater, and much of it is amusing and spot-on.


  1. The Oath was a spectacular, unintentionally funny (at times even hilarious), own goal. It was designed to skewer Trump and Trumpers but the behaviors mocked were all Democrats in the Age of Trump orthodoxy and not very Trumpian at all given the disloyalty of Trump’s hires as POTUS. And to partly confirm my POV, I’ve looked for it over the last few years and can never seem to find it on the streaming services (originally I saw it on Hulu). Just now I used the cross streamer search at the Roku Channel and it didn’t recognize the title of the movie. I bet it’s even more unintentionally funny now as we’ve only descended deeper into clown world. I predict that The Oath will, someday, be a cult movie hit. It’s either that or Trump and Trumpers get shipped to the gulag.

  2. Judging by what you say at the end of your review, it sounds like Barinholtz has the same blind spot that a lot of other liberal celebrities have: he still believes in the media. I’ve read a lot of tweets by liberal celebrities that are literally just copying a talking point pushed by some far-left media outlet earlier the same day, word for word. They seriously haven’t thought about the issue at all beyond the exact words that Media Matters or HuffPo told them about it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button