Idiocracy

Idiocracy

Film review by: Witney Seibold

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            When Mike Judge’s comedy “Office Space” was released by Fox back in 1999, it received precious little publicity, the theatrical run was painfully short, and it quickly left theaters. Luckily, it was a good enough film that college students the nation over latched onto it, bringing it cult status on video. It is often quoted in casual conversation, and its fans are numerous and passionate.

 

            In 2006, Judge released his second feature film. It was called “Idiocracy,” a science-fiction film about an average Joe who is accidentally frozen for 500 years and awakens when America’s collective IQ has dropped to the point of idiocy.

 

            One would think that Fox, having missed the bandwagon on “Office Space,” would be eager to promote a potential new cult classic from a popular and funny comedian (Judge is also the co-creator of “King of the Hill,” and full creator of “Beavis & Butt-Head”). “Idiocracy” was not promoted at all. No trailers were cut for it, and TV spots ran on opening weekend and opening weekend only. If, on opening day, you looked on movie websites like “moviefone,” you would find “Idiocracy” listed as “Untitled Mike Judge Comedy.” Fox not only didn’t promote it, but seemed eager to bury this movie. And how insulting that the websites will list Judge by name, but not tell you the name of his movie.

 

            Luckily, I was able to see the film on opening weekend with a group of friends, bravely bucking against Fox’s anti-advertising campaign, and I am here to report that “Idiocracy” is very, very funny.  Rather than rely on a funny actor (like an Adam Sandler), or milking jokes out of a wacky “character” (as like the ones played by Will Ferrell), “Idiocracy” starts with a funny idea. An average man grappling with a future that has become populated by nothing but porn-obsessed, violence-obsessed, non-reading, fat-ass Beavises… that has much comic potential.

 

            Soldier Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson) and put-upon prostitute Rita (Maya Rudolph) are selected for a top-secret army cryogenics experiment. However, when the project’s leader is arrested for pimping, their pods are neglected, and they sleep 499 years longer than planned. When they awaken, they find that people, now being evolutionarily rewarded for procreating rather than being intelligent, are living in stupid trashy squalor, don’t know why the crops aren’t growing, and watch TV shows with titles like “Ow! My Balls!” The American president (Terry Alan Crews) is an ex-porn star who gives people the finger, crushes beer cans against his head, and shoots his oft-present machine gun as often as possible (make your own Bush joke here). Joe pairs up with a muttering boob named Frito (Dax Shepherd), and, after failing to find a time machine to return him to 2005, is enlisted by the government to save the planet from itself.

 

            I listed “Idiocracy” as one of the best films of 2006. I stand by that remark. While the film was largely one “stupid” joke after another, no one can do a good “stupid” joke better than the guy who raised it to an art for with Beavis & Butt-Head. The film’ budget is obviously lower than it should have been, but it largely works past it with enthused performances. And, again, it has the advantage of starting from a good place, rather than leaning on the actors or the creators. If you can find it on video, by all means rent it. It’s already growing a cult. Perhaps it can grow a massive cult in the same way “Office Space” did. And perhaps, with two cult comedies under his belt, Judge will be given reign to make the comedy classic he is clearly itching to.

 

            Another interesting note: In “Idiocracy,” much of world’s problems are brought on by the fact that a Gatorade-like sports drink called Brawndo has replaced water. Brawndo is a substance largely responsible for the downfall of humanity. Fox, in their infinite wisdom, and evidently not at all picking up on the irony, has decided to cash in on the “Idiocracy” cult by marketing Brawndo in real life.

 

            Isn’t that twisted?

             Watch a commercial for Brawndo here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tbxq0IDqD04

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Published in: on December 20, 2007 at 1:19 am  Leave a Comment  

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