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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Idiocracy

After months of hearing mostly positive reviews, I finally saw Idiocracy last night. Paired with Office Space and Beavis and Butt-head Do America, it was a Mike Judge triple-feature. Watching them back-to-back-to-back, I must say that Idiocracy is worthy of Judge's previous two films.

Luke Wilson plays Joe Bauers, an average guy who is frozen for 500 years along with a prostitute named Rita (played by Maya Rudolph). After waking up in 2505, they find America has devolved so much that they are the smartest people on the planet. The effects of corporate takeovers and mass reproduction of nitwits, America is now Uhhmerica. Joe and Rita try to find a time machine but run into a lot of obstacles along the way.

This isn't a stark look at the future like Blade Runner or Fahrenheit 451. However, this isn't some stupid look at stupid people. Similar to his approach with Beavis and Butt-head, Judge makes stupidity funny. The humor is very deadpan and a tad dark, but not so dark that it's uncomfortable. There's very little of what I think of as "owww" humor (the physical pain seen in Jackass and There's Something About Mary). As a matter of fact, there are some shots taken at that kind of humor.

At its core, Idiocracy takes on a lot of things that Judge has lampooned before. Convenience stores, fast food joints, pro wrestling, monster truck shows and scuzzy talk shows are just some of them. But this approach is pretty different from Beavis and Butt-head. Instead of the stupid people being the protagonists, the smart people are, even if they don't fit the mold of the classic hero/heroine. There is an explicit message here: flex your creative muscles! Read books, paint pictures, etc. Because of this, maybe that's why the film really rang true for me.

I'm not so sure Idiocracy will catch on as well as Office Space. Office Space hits on a lot of nerves most working adults have. It's almost required viewing with people my age. But with Idiocracy, its appeal is smaller. I don't mean to say it's less of a movie, but I could understand people gravitating more towards Office Space. It's not for everyone, but definitely worth checking out if you like Judge's kind of humor.

1 comment:

Zine-O-Phonic said...

I so wanted to like this movie, and it just fell short IMHO. The background stuff, and the message were good, but overall it just felt boring to me. I love office space, and was a huge Beavis and Butthead fan back in the day.

I really think the acting was my main problem with the film, but I posted on that months ago on the other now defunct blog.

maybe a second watch would help.