Monday, November 05, 2007

Idiocracy: Grade B

Idiocracy (2006)
Luke Wilson, Maya Rudolph, Terry Crews. Writer-Director Mike Judge.

Wilson and Rudolph are cryogenically frozen and forgotten. They wake up 500 years in the future when American culture has become so dumbed down that they are the smartest people in the country. Actually, Wilson’s character is declared the smartest man, although it stands to reason that Rudolph would be the smartest woman, but that is overlooked since this is strictly a male POV movie.

In the future, everyone (male) is zombie-like stupid, interested only in TV, sex, fast food, and farts. They no longer even have the intelligence to pick up their own garbage or grow crops, so life is desperate. There still is technology for cars, planes, clothing, television, vending machines, scanners, and weapons, so the story is that evil, greedy corporations have succeeded in purposely dumbing down society to sell more goods. That’s not such a far-fetched idea, judging from contemporary pop culture. It is optimistic to set the action 500 years in the future. A century might have done it. The “President of America” played to the hilt by Terry Crews is a cross between James Brown and one of the more flamboyant wrestling stars. There are genuinely funny situations and lines, and I am an appreciator of silliness, but emphasizing the Jackass/Dumbass genre (which is satirized, but copied anyway), diminished the film for me by going for adolescent gags instead of developing the real satiric potential of the story line. But, something for everyone, I guess. How the filmmakers got away with spoofing brands like Starbuck’s, Costco, Carl’s Junior, and many others, is a mystery. Maybe the whole movie is actually a marketing vehicle for those companies to reach the IQ challenged, and the joke’s on me.

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