Review: Maximum Truth


Rick Klingman is a hustler. He hustles the truth. And what is truth? Whatever someone pays Rick to hustle.

We are first introduced to Rick at a press conference where he announces he is suing to prevent the performance of a play, produced by Seth Rogen, which posits that Abraham Lincoln was gay. The press conference goes amusingly awry.

The story of Rick Klingman (Ike Barinholtz), and his partner in “truth for hire,” Simon Tarnum (Dylan O’Brien), is told through the camera of a documentary crew following them around as they work on a project to discredit a political candidate. Their client is the widow of the man who “practically invented fracking,” shown in a photo kneeling by the body of a baby elephant he’d shot. She wants Klingman to destroy a political candidate who represents everything she hates. The money is good, so our incompetent but enthusiastic bumblers are off and running.

This amusing take on political “dirty tricksters” is the brainchild of director/writer David Stassen, who takes us through every conceivable attempt to dig up dirt on a candidate while making an absolute fool of yourself – all in front of documentary cameras. Stassen even has a cameo as the director of the documentary.

If you want to see an enjoyable send-up of two guys with absolutely no scruples, self awareness or moral values, this movie is for you. Barinholtz and O’Brien are spot on in their depiction of these hilariously pathetic characters.

It’s all summed up when Klingman is asked by the documentary director, “What is your message?” He responds, “Whatever I’m paid to say it is. And I’ll say it with pride.”

There are two guys, in real life, upon whom the “Maximum Truth” might have been based. They are Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl. These conservative operatives attempted to manipulate voters during the 2020 US elections, but their efforts were bumbling and ineffective. Klingman and Tarnum, as presented, even bear a physical resemblance to Burkman and Wohl. But unlike the fictional antics of these two, Burkman and Wohl were convicted and sentenced for their real life crimes.

For anyone looking for some laughs at the expense of “know-it-all” bunglers, or a broad lampoon of political operatives, this movie is a must.


Director: David Stassen
Writers: David Stassen, Ike Barinholtz
Producers: Edward H. Hamm, Jr, Raymond Mansfield, Sean McKittrick, Patrick Rizzotti
Cinematographer: Keith Dunkerley
Editors : Dorian Harris, Xueyi Yang
Music: Jeff Cardonni

Rick Klingman: Ike Barinholtz
Simon Tarnum: Dylan O’Brien
Seth Rogen: Himself
Fred Zurtz: Mark Proksch
Amy Klort: Tya Sircar
Marco Diaz: Tony Rodriguez

Runtime: One hour, 31 minutes
Availability: Theaters and Internet, June 23, 2023

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