The madness of the California gubernatorial recall election, which ousted incumbent Gray Davis and brought Arnold Schwarzenegger into the governor's mansion, is a natural for a documentary. How Arnold Won the West seizes upon the most bizarre aspects of this political carnival and holds them up for some fairly easy mockery. Here's Arnold being hit with an egg, and here's Arnold accused of groping women. And don't forget the TV "game show" debates featuring some of the countless gag candidates, including Gary Coleman and porn star Mary Carey. All of which won't be terribly new to Americans who watched the spectacle unfold, although others may find it flabbergasting. Brit director Alex Cooke takes a snarky attitude toward this, spending too much time on Schwarzenegger's shunning of campaign reporters. Ultimately, the film focuses on process and the horse race, rather than issues--just like the mainstream press. --Robert Horton
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