The Founder: I’m lovin’ it


Michael Keaton was born to play the bad guy, and I can’t think of a role more suited for him than that of the man whose shady business deals expanded both fast-service restaurants and the American waistline: Ray Kroc.

“The Founder” tells the story of Kroc (Michael Keaton) as he rises from an unsuccessful travelling salesman to essentially stealing the idea of fast food as it exists today from the enterprising McDonald brothers (Nick Offerman, John Carrol Lynch).

The film opens with Kroc giving a tired, clichéd sales pitch for a milkshake mixer directly to the camera. He slurs a few words, mumbles, but there’s a fire and a passion behind his pitch.

Persistence is Kroc’s key, as he uses it to basically take whatever he wants. Keaton plays the character as a complex, secretly intelligent man. Both other characters and the audience are lulled into underestimating this awkward old man until he stands up and plays a flirty piano duet with a business partner’s wife to establish dominance over said partner.

Nick Offerman delivers the exact same performance he delivers in his stand-up and as  the character of Ron Swanson in “Parks and Recreation”: an unflinching, stony-faced, hard working conservative man.

Except he shaved the mustache. It’s nice to see character actors getting work, but Nick Offerman looks to suffer from Samuel L. Jackson syndrome insofar as he can’t lose himself in a role. I never thought, “Oh there’s Dick McDonald,” when he was on screen, just, “Hey it’s Nick Offerman again and that mustache is still gone.”

Unfortunately, at times “The Founder” feels like it’s a decade late to the party. Ten years ago the nation was frustrated, essentially fighting a war because of a lie and no end in sight.

Documentarians took advantage of that collective frustration during a mini-renaissance of documentaries attempting to bring down giant companies with salacious information and sketchy journalism.

“Super Size Me”,”The Yes Men”, ”The Corporation”, “Fast Food Nation.” They all had the same “screw the man, man” attitude towards corporations.

While presented as a dramatized version of true events, a subtle version of that spunky attitude remains under the skin of “The Founder.”

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)