Thursday, January 18, 2007

You like reading blogs? Fag!

The Netflix DVD has been kicking around my house for almost a week, but last night I finally got a chance to see Mike Judge's Idiocracy. It has many problems (technical, scene execution, repetition, third act), but its premise is gold and it isn't so much irreverent as genuinely disrespectful. From what I understand, copyrights do not proclude spoofing and so Judge wouldn't necessarily need permission from Carl's Jr., Fuddruckers or Starbucks to imagine a world where Carl's Jr. drugs patrons and confiscates children, Fuddruckers has become Buttfuckers and Starbucks doles out "full release" lattes (read: blowjobs). The movie is harrowing look at a world where corporate concerns trump real problems (a Gatorade like product is being used to water the crops, but the nation riots when switching to water damages the stock price in brilliant satire of the economy versus the environment debates of today) and the average person considers thinking or reading "Faggy".

The movie feels like you could watch it five or six times and still find cultural references and delirious stupidity. The opening alone is the funniest thing this side of the naked fight in Borat. It is ironic that the creator of "Beavis and Butthead" now bemoans a society where the top rated show is "Ow, my Balls" and the Best Picture (and Best Screenplay) winner is "Ass" (and that is what it is). At least "Beavis and Butthead" wasn't impervious to analysis like the idiotic, calculated "reality" that populates TV today.

I have always like Luke Wilson and I think he does a fine job here. I agree with Dennis, at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule, that Dax Shepard as Frito steals the show. I had always just thought of him as "that guy from 'Punk'D'" (his work in Lets Go to Prison and Employee of the Month didn't help), but coaxed genuine empathy, not to mention belly laughs, from what was essentially a one note song (clue: Frito isn't smart). The scene where Frito acts as Luke Wilson's lawyer in a courtroom that was part day time TV and part Melee at the Palace was one of my favorites in the movie. Another surprise was how good and even, dare I say it, hot Maya Rudolph was. I find Saturday Night Live completely unwatchable and have never considered her even remotely attractive, but she definitely did it for me here as the completely average hooker who is mostly concerned with avoiding trouble from Upgraydd, her pimp. I recently watched Terry Crews in an embarassing turn in White Chicks (he seemed to be playing "scary miscegenating black man"), but he rallied nicely here. All in all, a nice job from the cast on a script that is definitely pretty flat and flabby (how about that slightly oxymoronic combo) at times.

Fox sabotaged this movie from the get go, only releasing it in six cities (not including New York), before pulling it and releasing it on DVD. Moreover, they reshot the movie after Judge finished, refused to let it be prescreened, slashed the budget (which shows up in the special effects), denied requests by festivals to show the movie after release, and reportedly never finished a trailer for the movie! This year Fox released gems like Date Movie and John Tucker Must Die to seemingly endless ad campaigns, but they didn't even bother to make a trailer in case they wanted to advertise this movie to the public. Perhaps Fox had a problem with a movie that showed the future Fox News as a shirtless guy and a cleavage baring bimbo as co-anchors. Supposedly, there was some sort of fight with Mike Judge and Fox only released the movie at all because it was contractually obligated to. Will the evil of Newscorp never end? First the Dodgers, then the news, now Idiocracy!

So, rent this movie you won't be disappointed. Sure, it has the same third act problems that plagued Office Space, where the ending is a little too neat, not to mention the implications* raised in the third act of either movie, but it is damn funny throughout and even with everything I mentioned there are a million laugh out loud funny quotes I missed.

*Ok, fine, I will mention that it is absurd to think that construction work is substantively better than working in an office. I mean seriously, have you ever worked construction Mike Judge? It sucks. It is hard, you wake up early, your body hurts, the pay isn't good, there is little to no recognition of your accomplishments and bosses are often far more openly abusive than the passive aggressive pussies talking down to you in your cubicle. But, Office Space points out that at least you get to be outside... Idiocracy, meanwhile, concludes that dumb people are doomed unless the smart people save them from themselves, and even then the dumb people will just sit on the sidelines having tons of kids and killing themselves.

1 comment:

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Annandale, nice wrap-up on Idiocracy. No surprise that I share your views of the film. I haven't seen it again yet, howeve I'm looking forward to it. (The DVD sits waiting for that funny little concept called "free time" to rear up and surprise me.)

I have to say that I thought Maya Rudolph was incredibly sexy in A Prairie Home Companion-- having given up on Saturday Night Live while Phil Hartman was still a cast member, I only knew that she is P.T. Anderson's girlfriend/mother of his child. I'd never seen her before. Maybe it's the part of me that likes sarcastic women with nice bodies (or perhaps nice women with sarcastic bodies), but she really appealed to me in that film, probably more so that even in Idiocracy. She's definitely someone I will be watching out for.

I'm gonna be posting a wrap-up today, but since I'm here, what did you think of the Oscar nominations?