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Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

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Hullabaloo


Saturday, February 10, 2007

 
Saturday Night At The Movies

Children of Morons: Mike Judge Does America

By Dennis Hartley

If the 2007 Super Bowl commercials and ever-escalating voter participation in shows like “American Idol” are any indication, the dumbed-down “future” of America depicted in Mike Judge’s lightweight allegory, Idiocracy, is perhaps only belaboring the obvious.

Army librarian Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson) loves his cush job. It’s the perfect gig, because, as he tells a fellow soldier- “No one ever comes here” (I think I just heard every librarian reading this review say “No kidding.”). Much to Joe’s chagrin, however, his gravy train is derailed when he is “volunteered” as a guinea pig for a top secret military experiment.

Joe is assigned to spend one year in a suspended animation “pod”, a process the military is testing for typically nefarious reasons. Joe is not alone, however. A hooker named Rita from “the private sector” (SNL’s Maya Rudolph) is also enlisted (don’t ask.)

When our intrepid pair finally awake, it’s a tad more than a year later. After a series of silly events, they in fact find themselves in the year 2505 (whoops!). Does hilarity ensue?

Well…the America of 2505 is not so much dystopian, as it is dys-stupido. As the droll narrator explains, evolution has favored those who reproduce the most (you know…morons!). The #1 TV show is called “Ow My Balls”, and the #1 film is “Ass” (kinda says it all). Anyone who conjugates a verb or speaks in complete sentences is accused of talking “like a fag”. In a nutshell, this is what would happen if the entire U.S. gene pool was whittled down exclusively to the descendants of Gallagher’s fan base.

If you’ve surrendered to the premise at this point in the film, you won’t flinch when the President, a former WWF champion (not such a stretch, considering former and current guvs Ventura and Schwarzenegger) ends up appointing Joe his Secretary of the Interior.

Judge isn’t really saying anything new here, beyond pointing out that we live in a dumbed-down culture (yawn). There are a few inspired moments; particularly the keen observation that the accelerated reduction of America’s average IQ seems to be directly proportionate to the ever-increasing square footage of the average WalMart.

There is a bit of irony I can’t get past; it was Mike Judge who created the “Beavis and Butthead” show, which one might argue played its own part in the “dumbing down” of a generation that came of age in the 90’s. (Despite the satirical intentions, I think B & B ended up as role models for some, not unlike those cowboys who completely missed the joke and merrily sang along with Borat’s “Throw the Jew Down The Well”…discuss!)

What a stupid country: Borat - Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan Team America - World Police (, Jackass - The Movie, Napoleon Dynamite, Clueless , Drop Dead Gorgeous, Smile(1975), Network , Broadcast News, To Die For, UHF, Being There, Dave, The Hudsucker Proxy, Zelig, Sleeper, Natural Born Killers, Dawn of the Dead (1978) Fahrenheit 451, Death Race 2000



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