I’ve been low-key calling out Ike Barinholtz for a while as a consistent scene-stealer. Last year, in my review of Snatched, I wrote, “Ike Barinholtz steals every scene he’s in [… ]he’s so good, he’s entering Jason Mantzoukas territory as a secondary player who really needs his own movie.” I’ve wondered for a while when Barinholtz—who Maria also recognizes for his dependability as a performer—would get to make a movie and/or be the lead. Well, the time is now and the answer is The Oath, a movie Barinholtz wrote and directed and stars in, which is apparently about how our lives are now an inescapable nightmare.
This is Barinholtz’s first feature film as a director, and the teaser is relying on “From the producers of Get Out” which is the new “from the guy who brought you Terminator and Titanic”. There is also Tiffany Haddish present in nearly every shot of the teaser, but they’re not leaning on her as hard as they could be. Maybe whoever cut this trailer knows they don’t have to do more than tell you she’s in this movie, or maybe she’s in all the good jokes they don’t want to spoil in the trailers. Either way, she’s in the movie but she is not doing much in this teaser.
The premise is that Americans are being encouraged—forced?—to sign a “patriot’s oath” which 100% sounds like something we’re going to have to do in the next couple of years. This is happening around Thanksgiving, which has always had the potential to be a contentious meal but in the last couple years has, for many families, turned into an emotional warzone. The Oath looks like a let’s-take-it-all-the-way worst case scenario for the newly divided family dealing with—or trying to NOT deal with—political differences during the holidays. As someone who is dealing with this for real, I 100% support this comedy concept. At a certain point you have to laugh or else you’ll cry, and most of us are well past that point. I would see The Oath for this premise alone, but I’m not going to lie, the biggest curiosity factor is seeing what Ike Barinholtz does with his shot to become more than just an ensemble player.