Sunday, January 28, 2007

Film: Idiocracy dir. Mike Judge

directed by Mike Judge

I was frustrated as hell last year when Mike Judge's Idiocracy was dumped into only a handful of theaters and never played the Greater New York area. I was pissed. I love King of the Hill. I was one of the twelve people who went gaga over Office Space before it was released on video. I'd been waiting for this movie eagerly ever since I'd seen it listed in Entertainment Weekly's Summer Movie Preview. I scanned the horizons, ever watchful that it would soon splash across screens on the isle of Manhattan. Nothing. The jeezly flick never played here. In New York!

So, when I saw that it was coming out on DVD, I moved it immediately to the top of my Netflix queue. This weekend, at last, I saw this movie to which I'd been looking forward for ever so long.


The premise of this movie, I think, is ripe with comic potential. The over-breeding of dullards in today's society leads to a future world inhabited by utter morons? Awesome! What a great comment on the sad intellectual state of the world we live in. The sequence in which the evolution of this catastrophe is laid out is hilarious. But, once we get to this future world, there's only so many different ways it can be hammered home that these people are stupid.

My wife didn't feel that there was really anything you could do with this premise to give it a longer shelf-life than, say, ten minutes. I think Mike Judge could have done a whole lot more with this, if he hadn't been saddled with a number of other problems.

First off, he attempts to stick fairly closely with the post-apocalyptic movie genre story beats. Massive threat to civilization; our hero manages--somehow, in this crazy, mixed-up world--to restore some semblance of order. Throw in futuristic product placement here and there, as well as a gladiatorial scene; blah blah blah. It's not something that works if played straight with a goofy type of apocalypse grafted on.

Second, Luke Wilson is just kind of boring. I like him. You put him in the right movie, with a strong cast supporting him, and he can pull off a leading man with some credibility. But he's just not strong enough to anchor something like this.

Third: Maya Rudolph. Ugh. I've never understood why she lasted more than a season on SNL and I have no idea why anyone would hire her for a movie. NOT A GOOD ACTRESS.

Do I think this movie is a brilliant, underappreciated gem? No. Hell no. On the other hand, I still don't understand why it didn't get a wider release. There's a whole bunch of crap put out on a regular basis that is five times stupider than this and doesn't even try to make a comment on our society. Epic Movie was the number one film in the country this weekend. I rest my case.

Reviewed by Joe Wack, 494 words



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