Page last updated at 14:10 GMT, Friday, 6 February 2009

Ferrell's Bush divides US critics

Will Ferrell
Ferrell worked with the show director on Anchorman and Step Brothers

Comedian Will Ferrell has divided theatre critics on the opening night of his new Broadway show in which he plays former US president George W Bush.

"I laughed, I yawned," wrote the New York Times critic of the 90-minute monologue, You're Welcome America.

USA Today called the show, in which Ferrell makes his Broadway debut, "a witless, pointless spectacle".

But The Washington Post praised the Anchorman star's performance for its "gleeful, adolescent spirit."

Ferrell - best known for roles in films such as Elf and Blades of Glory - honed his impersonation of a bumbling, gaffe prone Bush on the popular American comedy show, Saturday Night Live.


Staged by Anchorman director Adam McKay, the show sees Bush address the audience directly about his eight years in office to, as Ferrell puts it, "celebrate my eight years of service to you".

Other comic distractions include a break-dancing Secret Service agent, played by the star's brother Patrick Ferrell, and Condoleezza Rice re-imagined as a lap dancer.

A review on Bloomberg was less than kind: "As satire, You're Welcome, America is toothless.

"What comes across as pointed and funny in 90 seconds on Saturday Night Live flops as a Bush-era post-mortem."

But Vanity Fair suggested the show "is perhaps just what the country needs most right now - a chance to exhale, guffaw, revel in the pure comic if criminal absurdity of the Bush era."

You're Welcome America: A Final Night with George Bush is currently playing at New York's Cort Theatre. US network HBO will broadcast the show live on 14 March.

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