An (Expensive) Final Night with Will Ferrell

Barack Obama’s first day in office was January 20th, which was also the evening of the first preview for You’re Welcome America. A Final Night With George W. Bush. While you might have had enough of Bush in the past eight years, it seems Will Ferrell has not had enough of playing his infamous Dubya character. And despite that little problem known as the recession, $837,000 in first week ticket sales suggests that America’s not done with him either. Maybe it’s some kind of national Patty Hearst Syndrome?

Before you pick up and move to Canada, as most reviews point out, the big (and possibly only) draw for You’re Welcome America is its star, not the show itself. After the jump, see why we’ll be saving $100 by renting Old School and waiting to watch this one on HBO for free.

“But ultimately this production is less about the legacy of George W. Bush than it is about the comic persona that has been perfected by Will Ferrell. ‘You’re Welcome America’ is a lot like Mr. Ferrell’s more middling movies, not quite on a level with ‘Blades of Glory’ or ‘Talladega Nights.’ Sometimes it’s really funny, and sometimes it sort of sags. I laughed, I yawned.” [NYT]

“Who would have guessed that old Mr. Unpopularity, George W. Bush, would be packing them in on Broadway? Then again, it’s got next to nada to do with Dubya and everything to do with the actor playing him, Will Ferrell, who’s been spoofing the President since his days at ‘Saturday Night Live.'” [NYDN]

“And from his airborne entrance to his faux-reflective exit (“Am I the worst president of all time?”), Ferrell is deep in character — absolutely in charge and at ease, notably in a freestyle segment in which he comes up with instant nicknames for audience members. Diehard or even casual Ferrell fans will not feel cheated.” [Variety]

“But as personified by Will Ferrell, reprising the hilarious caricature he honed to perfection on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ the ex-president turns out to be a hell of a lot of fun to hang with. ” [New York Post]

“Then again, it’s often said humor is the best tonic for what ails you, and no matter how awful some may regard the Bush years, Will Ferrell guarantees you’ll laugh through the tears.” [NY1]

“…Ferrell proves to be a master of impromptu banter; in one of his concluding gambits, his Bush spontaneously confers nicknames on members of the audience. At my performance, the last of these was a man who called out that he was a Wall Street trader. Ferrell’s sublime response created the illusion of a president a lot quicker on his feet than the comedian would ever have given him credit for.” [Washington Post]