Friday, September 8, 2006

Now Playing: Idiocracy

This was the second comedy I saw this weekend and it couldn't be more different than Beerfest if it tried. Fox dropped this on seven cities across North America with zero publicity so we can expect it on DVD roughly three Tuesdays from now. Writer-Director Mike Judge was similarly shafted when Office Space came out to no fanfare in February, so one can see how he might be a little angry at history repeating itself. I can't say it's a travesty comparable to someone shelving Gone With The Wind, but the film made me laugh more times than not and was surprisingly intelligent considering its "stupid" subject matter.

Luke Wilson plays an average guy frozen in a military experiment along with a prostitute played by Mya Rudolph. They wake up 500 years later to find the world has gone stupid which is hilariously explained early in the film as rednecks breeding faster than educated people. I died laughing watching the "family tree" graphic as it swelled exponentially on one side.

The laughs build from there and the primary reason behind the jokes being as funny as they are is courtesy of the narrator. He sounds exactly like the voice of those old NFL Films highlight movies we all grew up with as kids, and it frankly wouldn't surprise me if that's who Judge used. It makes sense in context to have that exact voice narrate and his deadpan delivery of certain lines, particularly how the locals view Wilson's manner of speech, laid me right out in hysterical laughter.

There are a few missteps though, and a big one is Dax Shephard as Wilson's attorney. People can claim he's funny until they are blue in the face, but to me he comes off as a less shrill version of Will Ferrell. In short, he sucks. Quite a lot in fact. But as a counter-point to his lameness, Judge created President Camacho who is one of the greatest supporting characters I've seen in a long time. A former wrestler turned President of the America, Camacho is hysterically over the top and it cracked me up how he could turn from friendly to hostile and back to friendly all in the span of about four seconds.

Since it'll be on DVD soon enough, check it out the second it does. There are so many countless background sight gags that multiple viewings aren't so much required as demanded. It's relatively easy to get past the jokes that don't work, because somewhere in the background are three that do. It's a shame Fox didn't appreciate it more, but frankly I'm not surprised. If you're in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles or Toronto then hunt this film down and see it in the theater. For everyone else, it'll be on disc soon enough.

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