Saturday, January 13, 2007


dir. Mike Judge

Boring Luke Wilson surveys bad CG in funny movie.

January 11, 2007 - DVD

If you dumped Idiocracy in a time capsule for 500 years, a man named Beef Supreme may dig it out. Beef Supreme would likely say, “I love this movie!” Mr. Supreme has seen it multiple times, and is confused about the disc-like format and the odd perspective in the photograph of Luke Wilson, or “Not Sure,” on the cover. Will the movies of today survive 500 years? Will the Dantes and Chaucers of today be the Hitchcocks and Malicks of tomorrow? Will the world even exist in 500 years? Mike Judge seems to think so. In a most optimistic dystopian future, Mike Judge fashions an era where the United States still exists! Robots, nor apes, nor supercomputers have taken hold power. Next to the universe of Star Trek, I have rarely seen a future where its government so accurately represents its people and, for the most part, people are happy. They are stupid, but happy. Idiocracy is stupid, but funny. And in this case, that is enough.

It is a rare thing when a comedy can shine despite a cast of unfunny actors (Dax Shepard, Justin Long). The concept, script and mise-en-scene (complete with abysmal computer generated backdrops, 20-mile Costcos and hospitals named “St. God”) all shine through, resulting in some material that is impossible to be unfunny (naming a character Beef Supreme). Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph play two people who partake in a military hibernation experiment. Needless to say, they are not awoken until one of the great trash avalanches of the 26th century. Wilson and Rudolph do not play the brightest bulbs on the tree, so it takes them a little while to understand what has happened. Dimwits have been breeding at an alarming rate for 500 years, while the intelligentsia are too smart to breed. This, in turn, wipes out global smarts and the world is effectively rendered stupid. This makes Luke Wilson and Maya Rudoolph the smartest people in the world. Comedy ensues.

The scope of this concept is not really grasped until you enter it for yourself. At first glance it seems like a sitcom with an endless tap of funny. That is not the case. It is a very shallow puddle, and sustainable comedy is nearly impossible. Everyone is incredibly stupid and the main characters are extremely boring. There is no character to crack jokes and point out the idiocy of the entire situation or the day-to-day. Luke Wilson is simply concerned with his and Maya Rudolph’s well being. He is too considerate to consider the humor. The only source of perspective comes in the form of an omniscient narrator, who simply fills plot holes and frames the events historically. And yet, funny finds a way. Doctor’s speak lines such as, “So basically it says here you're fucked up, you sound like a fag and your shit's all retarded.” There is a recurring joke referring to the average way Luke Wilson speaks to being “faggy.”

Rita (Maya Rudolph) explains solemnly, “You think Einstein walked around thinking everyone was a bunch of dumbshits?”

President Comacho, the President of the United States, gives a speech to his countrymen decreeing, “Now, I understand everyone’s shit’s emotional right now.”

This is all gut-busting, laughy stuff. It is the Beavis and Butthead world of Mike Judge in live-action form. This is a good thing and I say, if Mike Judge keeps topping himself with dumber and dumber movies, he will soon double-back and make the smartest comedy ever made. Idiocracy is a fairly smart dumb movie, so he’s almost there.

Idiocracy’s theatrical release was a joke (did not open New York City). A joke funnier and dumber than the movie. Its DVD release is a joke. If this title ever ends up on Comedy Central, it will be loved. Cult classic status is just around the corner. It lacks the universality of an Office Space, but it will survive. If I were as optimistic as Mr. Judge, I’d say for 500 years or so, time capsule or no time capsule.


Kalen Egan said...

Fact: there is a young actor right now starring in Disney Channel original musical movies whose name is "Corbin Bleu." Seriously, this is, like, half a step away from being called Beef Supreme. Once you see Idiocracy, the world around you suddenly becomes a far more frightening place.

Corbin Bleu... man, oh man...

Kalen Egan said...