Chris Rock makes his directorial debut with this bracing political satire, playing an inept Washington alderman tapped to run for president. The script is updated Capra: after the Democratic nominee dies, a party bigwig appoints Rock as a sacrificial lamb to go up against the seemingly unbeatable Republican vice president, who ends every speech with the mantra: “God bless America—and noplace else!” Soon the dark-horse candidate finds his own funky voice and emerges as a populist hero, threatening not only the veep but the button pushers in his own party. The gags come fast and furious, and though some are a little stale, Rock and cowriter Ali LeRoi strive for wit over crudity—in a priceless homage to Buster Keaton, reports that Rock will win California send hundreds of white voters stampeding out of their gated communities toward the polls. 95 min.