Jonathan Goodman Levitt’s documentary focuses on a trio of teenagers who share a significant obsession with politics. Shot over a three-year period that culminated with the 2008 presidential election, the film shows how each of the three aggressively pursue their political mania.
Massachusetts-based D.J. Beauregard was initially a staunch conservative, but realized he would have more career leverage in his state as a Democrat – thus, he happily switched sides and worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Virginian Ben Trump keeps his conservative ideals in place, even though he finds most of his peers abhor his brand of politics. And Pennsylvanian Nick Troiano drifts from his Republican beliefs to an Independent realm that becomes fairly shaky in a divided partisan environment.
To its credit, the film offers a rare glimpse into the relatively little-known world of political training camps for teenagers, where young people with presidential ambitions receive rigorous indoctrination into their party’s line. There is even a jovial appearance by Michael Dukakis, who all but disappeared from the national spotlight after his disastrous 1988 presidential candidacy.
But, unfortunately, the three young men at the heart of the film quickly become obnoxious bores – their insatiable hunger for becoming part of the political process comes across as self-aggrandizing monomania rather than a sincere desire to improve the nation. As a result, their respective quests serves to alienate rather than inspires the viewer, and it ultimately becomes difficult to justify why they should be the subject of a film.