Thursday, February 07, 2008

Journey To The Center Of My DVR - Idiocracy

Idiocracy (2006)
Starring Luke Wilson, Maya Rudolph, Dax Shepard

Directed by MIke Judge

Rated R

Now this one was easy to miss - Fox did all it could to ensure nobody would ever see this film. The release was confined to a small number of screens on both coasts, and quickly disappeared. Only via its appearance on cable has it been able to reach a wide audience, and quickly reach cult status.

It's not exactly clear why the studio would not put any effort behind this movie - it's a Mike Judge project. Judge, best known for TV shows Beavis and Butt-head, King Of The Hill, as well as the great cult film Office Space, seemingly has enough name recognition and credibility to get behind. Could it be that the film, a brilliant science fiction piece whereby stupid people, via pure volume breeding, totally take over the country, just might go completely over the heads of their audiences? Pandering to the lowest common denominator is something Fox specializes in, and they might have been thinking that this movie would have sailed right over the heads of the movie going crowd.

The film details how low level career military man Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson) is chosen to take part in an experiment whereby he is placed in a state of suspended animation, and revived at a later date, with the idea of creating super soldiers of the future. As this is a movie, Something Goes Wrong, and Wilson (along with local hooker Rita, played by Maya Rudolph) remains "frozen" for 500 years. They awaken to a world which has been overrun by stupidity, making the terminal underachiever and the hooker the de facto smartest people in the country. The opening of the film, which explains how the country (and presumably the world) ended up in this state is hilarious, and somewhat disturbing as one can totally see the scenario happening.
Navigating his way through an endless supply of utter morons who speak "hybrid of hillbilly, Valley girl, and inner-city slang" (and who tell him on more than one occasion after hearing him speak in full sentences that he "talks like a fag"), Wilson manages to get one man, Frito (Dax Shepard) to tell him of a Time Machine. Bauers obviously assumes that technology has advanced to the point where time travel is a reality, but, alas, runs into many obstacles trying to find his way back home. I won’t give any spoilers here, but suffice it to say Joe and Rita don’t have a lot of smooth sailing in trying to succeed in 2505, or return to the present.

The film is smart, funny, and a relatively short 84 minutes. Judge, as he has in his other projects, doesn’t lay it on too thick and mock the future Americans for their stupidity. Indeed, it seems as if he has pity on them, since they can’t be held accountable for their IQ, and Judge sort of celebrates their stupidity rather than mock them for it.
See this movie. Aside form the things mentioned above, it’s funny, and that alone should be enough to merit killing an hour and a half. The fact that the movie makes you think a little, or perhaps makes you just a wee bit uneasy, is just a bonus.

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