Opening during the heat of the presidential election, W. will try to gain a better approval rating than its subject.

Evaluating 'W.'

on October 16, 2008 by Phil Contrino

In real life, George W. Bush's approval rating is dangerously low. This weekend, Lionsgate is hoping that moviegoing audiences will be a little more receptive to the 43rd president.

Oliver Stone's W. is walking a very thin line between becoming a commercial success and becoming a joke. Its opening weekend will most likely be dissected by the film industry as much as political pundits are picking apart the current presidential debates.

At this point controversy may be the film's best friend, and yet many critics have applauded the often controversial director for remaining relatively unbiased this time around. In all fairness, Stone may be heading into a less radical phase of his career. World Trade Center took a very straight-forward approach to the events of 9/11 and it brought in $70.4 million domestically, which ranks among Stone's best grosses.

However, critical reception for W. has been mixed so far and it currently has a 61% on Rotten Tomatoes. While some films don't need critics in order to do well, a glowing reception for W. may have helped pushed undecided audiences over the edge.

A recent poll conducted by also doesn't bode well for Stone's biopic. Out of 5,079 respondents who were asked, "Do you plan to see the film W. - a movie about the life and presidency of George W. Bush?" a whopping 63% answered "No."

Then again, the time may be ripe for political impersonations. Tina Fey's Sarah Palin impression has renewed interest in Saturday Night Live and it has lead to much stronger ratings and tons of internet buzz. And while W. is not intended to be a parody of Bush's life, Fey's Palin performance may have wet some appetites.

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