Nothing is more American than apple pie, except for family drama on a holiday supposedly about togetherness. So, good news: There's a movie about that now.The Oath trailer stars Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz in a Thanksgiving comedy seemingly engineered just to give viewers a panic attack. It's got all the hits: sparring relatives, politics, a holiday basically built on a lie, and well-meaning parents determined to keep a lid on it all.
The film written and directed by Barinholtz, a writer-actor-comedian that fans will recognize from all kinds of things, whether it be The Mindy Project or Blockers or debates in your group chat of whether he counts as hot or extremely hot. The Oath stars an impressive range of talent, including Haddish, Carrie Brownstein, John Cho, Nora Dunn from Saturday Night Live, and so many more. The studio describes it as a "raw and riotous political comedy for divisive times," but that might be a little too on the nose.
Anyone that's spent five minutes scrolling Twitter or ten at at an uncomfortable family reunion would know that the line between dark comedy and actual division along political lines has increasingly blurred in the last few years. So for The Oath to really be effective, it needs to show audiences something they haven't seen before.
Though this feels like just a tease of the movie to come, there's a lot packed into the minute long teaser. Including, for some reason, violence? Who would dare tase Haddish during dinner?
The plot description offers more insight into what goes down in the movie:
"A controversial White House policy turns family member against family member in a savagely funny dark comedy about surviving life and Thanksgiving in the age of political tribalism."
It feels a little too real, right? It's almost surprising someone would choose to make a slightly satirical film about those circumstances when most are still very much living with them — and definitely not laughing about it. As for the fictional White House policy? Barinholtz and Haddish's characters "learn that citizens are being asked to sign a loyalty oath to the President" — thus the film title The Oath — and "their reaction is disbelief, followed by idealistic refusal" per Deadline. Enter, of course, the obviously enthusiastic and right-wing members of the family, uncomfortable parents, and so much more.
Oh, and then government agents show up for an undisclosed reason, which feels very much like an echo of the National Lampoon's Vacation series.
The studio describes The Oath as "a gleefully wicked reinvention of the traditional holiday comedy," written specifically for the "divisive political times". Whether that's such a good idea is another story entirely. Will conservative audiences appreciate a potentially cartoonish portrayal? Will more liberal viewers enjoy sitting down for a movie about their own anxieties? Is this a family comedy for families whose kids are all adults, or will it be something folks absentmindedly play on Netflix next year when they're folding a lot of laundry? Maybe a longer trailer will make that a little more clear, but for now our curiosity is definitely piqued.