Release Date 09 Nov 2012 09 Apr 2013

  • User rating
  • Currently 2/5 Stars.
  • Critic rating
  • Currently 2/5 Stars.




There's no family dog strapped to the roof of his car, but political candidate Grant Cogswell has his own set of image problems, starting with the fact that he likes to dress up as a polar bear and he's currently an unemployed music critic. In Stephen Gyllenhaal's bittersweet, uplifting comedy GRASSROOTS - based on the true story of the 2001 Seattle City Council election - Cogswell becomes a mono-maniacal man of the people, rallying an unlikely posse of misfits, slackers, and square pegs to his seemingly hopeless David-and-Goliath battle against a firmly entrenched incumbent. Before the Occupy Movement there was Grant's fervent pitch to the Emerald City's downtrodden hipsters and idealists - to stand up for what they believe in, to take back their city government, to build a beautiful monorail that would carry them into the future, to be part of something bigger than themselves. GRASSROOTS offers an exhilarating, hilarious, bumpy ride on the political train just when we need it most, because at bottom what drives this eccentric optimist is his belief that what he is doing actually matters. Based on the book "Zioncheck for President," written by Grant Cogswell's reluctant campaign manager Phil Campbell, GRASSROOTS stars Jason Biggs as Phil and Joel David Moore as Grant. Seattle plays itself, and the city has never looked dreamier, more beautiful, or more ripe for revolt. With Lauren Ambrose, Cedric the Entertainer, Cobie Smulders, Tom Arnold, Christopher McDonald, DC Pierson, Emily Bergl.

Joel David Moore | Jason Biggs | Lauren Ambrose | Cobie Smulders | Cedric The Entertainer | Tom Arnold




Related News and features

  • Critic rating
  • Currently 2/5 Stars. Critic Review

GRASSROOTS (USA/15/98mins)

Directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal. Starring Jason Biggs, Joel David Moore, Lauren Ambrose, Christopher McDonald, Cedric The Entertainer, Tom Arnold.

THE PLOT: Seattle, 2011, and brave music critic Grant Cogswell (Moore) has decided it’s time to run for local office – heck, if Screaming Lord Sutch can do it, why can’t he? And the ticket Grant is running on is, hey, when is this city finally going to have the kind of all-encompassing monorail it was promised? Helping run this, yep, grassroots campaign is another failed journalist, Phil Campbell (Biggs), the duo making surprisingly good headway as the media picks up on the unlikely people’s hero. It doesn’t help that the incumbent (Cedric) is one of the few sitting black politicians around. Still, Cogswell and Campbell decide that their amicable opponent is the Mayor Quimby of their story…

THE VERDICT: Based on the book Zioncheck For President (campaign chief Campbell’s insider account of this bizarre true-life event), pretty much like its protagonist, Grassroots promises much and delivers bugger all. Gyllenhaal (pop to Jake and Maggie, and a long-time filmmaker) had hoped to motivate America’s young into political action by touring Grassroots around college campuses there (his second wife, and co-producer here, Kathleen Man, by his side), but it’s unlikely this film inspired much beyond the occasional chuckle. And a few questions about Jake during the post-screening Q&A. It’s Milk without the calcium. It’s Dude, Where’s My Monorails, only not as stoner silly as that sounds. Go watch Marge Vs. The Monorail instead. RATING: 2/5

Review by P Byrne 

  • Avg User rating
  • Currently 2/5 Stars.

User Reviews

    • Currently 3/5 Stars.

    Marty hanratty

    its heart warming, funny and nevertheless provides an important message. The meaning of what Grassroots is all about, is delivered in this movie.

    • Currently 3/5 Stars.


    Although it only glosses the mechanics of local politics, it exudes an endearingly scruffy charm

    • Currently 1/5 Stars.


    Grassroots is a movie where bad ideas, because they're the ones championed by the "correct" side, are king. It never acknowledges that sometimes idealism is just another kind of manipulation.

    • Currently 3/5 Stars.


    Go see it, its heart warming, funny and nevertheless provides an important message. The meaning of what Grassroots is all about, is delivered in this movie.

    • Currently 3/5 Stars.


    You don't have to look too far these days to notice films abounding with jobless and financially struggling characters, in stark contrast to the recession-proof movies they inhabit. Top that off with emerging election year movies, and enter Grassroots.

    • Currently 3/5 Stars.


    Nicely timed to co-incide with the US Presidential election earlier this week, Grassroots takes a look at the no-holds-barred approach taken in US politics - but on a much smaller scale. Inspired by true events, the film follows recently fired writer Phil (Jason Biggs) as he becomes the campaign manager for the outspoken Grant (Joel David Moore). Grant has big plans for Seattle and wants to get on the city council to extend the one-stop monorail into a citywide network. A rival politician (Cedric The Entertainer) stands in his way - and he also has to deal with the fall-out from 9/11 as well. A shaggy dog story at best, Grassroots is very much about the underdog and how people at the grassroots level can shape local politics. Perhaps some of the satire and American-centric political digs are lost in the journey across the Atlantic. The story lacks focus at times and while Moore gives a good performance, his character isn't the most likeable. Grassroots is an intelligent, decent film that doesn't try too hard to impress. Unlike most politicians...