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Fans of comic documentaries can rejoice. If you’ve never heard of the Yes Men, you’re in for a treat; if you’ve followed their antics in earlier films, you’ll delight in a new barrage.
Either way, you’ll find in this film a fresh reflection on the question: How does one sustain a life of activism? The Yes Men Are Revolting chronicles the past five years of pranksters Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno (not their real names), the infamous activists known for duping the media with their impersonations of corporate shills and government stooges. At this stage of their career, the Yes Men have climate change at the top of their agenda, which takes them to Washington, Copenhagen, Uganda, and the Albertan tar sands. Laura Nix and the Yes Men team up as directors, recording every step of Bichlbaum and Bonanno’s journey as they meet with collaborators and pull off their witty stunts. Their planning and execution is filled with anxiety and improvisation, some pranks fizzling while others turn into media whirlwinds — and one case brings a threat of legal action more serious than any the Yes Men have ever encountered before.
But things become even more challenging as the pair enters a new chapter in their lives. Having crossed into middle age, Bichlbaum and Bonanno now have more at stake than did their younger selves. The stress of nurturing relationships presents greater complications to their lifestyle, giving rise to tensions that threaten to fracture the duo’s long partnership. Even as they question their future, they move forward with one more daring action, gathering a roomful of defense contractors and government officials under absurdly false pretenses. You won’t want to miss how it turns out. (Dir. by Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno & Laura Nix, 2014, USA, 90 mins., Rated PG)