Global warming may be a well accepted phenomenon, but its severity and ability to affect climate change, if at all, are topics that have yet to reach consensus inside the scientific community. As such, it is important for people to explore both sides of the issue before drawing conclusions for themselves. In Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy, Randy Olson plays himself, a scientist-turned-filmmaker who has been inspired by Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth to make his own documentary about global warming, but with scientists and skeptics alike. To kick things off, the only backers he can find are Mitch (Mitch Silpa) and Brian (Brian Clark), a flaky gay couple who agree to produce the film, but only under the condition that it features celebrities like Tom Cruise (not a scientist, but a Scientologist) and Kate Winslet (because British accents are more believable). To make matters worse, Olson is only given a two-man film crew, sound man Antwon (Ifeanyi Njoku) and cameraman Marion (Alex Thomas), a global warming skeptic who openly disagrees with Olson at every turn.
Ultimately, Sizzle can be broken down into one part documentary, one part mockumentary and one part comedy. It is highly informative and features a number of experts, from Julia Bovey of the Natural Resource Defense Council to Marc Morano of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, but its real strength lies in its lighthearted feel. Thanks to Mitch and Brian’s celebrity-seeking antics and Marion’s constant criticism, the mood is kept comical and the audience does not lose interest. This is a film not only about global warming, but about scientific documentaries as a whole. Olson’s approach is a means of criticizing conventional documentaries that shy away from storytelling in order to remain closer to fact than fiction. In his own way, Orson asks what use is a film meant to inform the audience if the audience is no longer willing to listen. Rather than saying as much outright, Olson demonstrates himself, resulting in a unique, but nonetheless engaging style of film.
Olson’s Sizzle is a must-see for anyone interested in the topic of global warming. While An Inconvenient Truth may have been thoroughly researched, its obvious partisanship detracted from the message at hand. In contrast, Sizzle highlights the facts used by both sides, giving Olson credibility by validating other viewpoints, even if it means losing some potential supporters to skepticism. The result is a one-of-a-kind film that succeeds as both a documentary and a comedy. For viewers looking to decide where to stand on this issue or just wanting a good laugh outside the usual slapstick, Sizzle is a great place to start. Highlights range from the professional, such as Pat Michaels’ chillingly convincing argument, to the absurd, such as polar bear attacks in hotel rooms.