Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Watch a funny movie, stick it to Fox. It's a win-win situation!

I saw something last week that I think may have signaled the end of civilization as we know it. One of the babymommas on Maury actually named her daddy-to-be-determined kid after Maury: "Kemauri." So... Maybe not so much the "four horsemen" end of civilization, but certainly the Mike Judge Idiocracy-prophesied one.*

If you haven't heard of it by now, (and you probably haven't) Idiocracy is Mike Judge's long awaited follow-up to the overwhelmingly popular Office Space, a film which has wedged itself into every facet of our popular culture... (yet managing to avoid a Napoleon Dynamite-style backlash.) The road to idiocracy has been a long one: with the struggle to even access distribution (or things like "trailers" and "official movie websites") detailed over the blogosphere for the past couple of years, and then with the mediocre reviews following it's pathetic release. Which still doesn't add up, because if Fox would have given it a fart of chance and promoted it as the follow-up to Office Space; it likely would have been a juggernaut, quality regardless. I mean, hello? Epic Movie topped the box office this weekend. We've proven time and again that we're not an exceptionally finicky culture when it comes to what we're willing to pay 10 dollars to see. When it comes to what we'll watch for free on network television, Arrested Development, that's another story. Sigh.

Well, rather than try to hypothesize why Fox does what it does, I'll move on to my review. Because I might as well try to explain why murderers kill people or why dolphins exist.

The plot of Idiocracy is as follows: Evolution traditionally favors exceptional qualities. Although in the case of the human species, the herd got too big and with no natural enemies, evolution eventually began favoring who could breed the most. (See Maury reference above) In an army experiment gone awry, average guy Private Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson) and prostitute Rita (Maya Rudolph) are cryogenically frozen and awaken in the year 2505 to find that they are the smartest people alive!!! Aaaand commence with the hilarity.

I watched this movie twice. The first time I watched it I couldn't put my thoughts together to write a proper review, but Mr. Salted enjoyed it so much that we ended up keeping the DVD a few extra days. My opinion was kind of tainted going in. I had been anticipating this movie since 2003-ish when I first caught buzz of it on the internets, but subsequent reviews and word-of-mouth had gotten me nervous.

Here's the thing, the beauty of Mike Judge's comedy is that he finds humor in the mundane. Whether it be a cubicle farm or a middle class Texan family, as in the subtle and overwhelmingly underrated King of the Hill. So basing a whole film plot around a grandiose well, punchline, was a bit of an undertaking. But, overall? I think it works. You can tell right off the bat, that the production value is pretty shitty... So Fox basically had it condemned without a trial. The humor is still there, though. The second viewing allowed me to pick up on some of the more subtle, layered humor; while I caught mostly the fart jokes the first time around.

Rather than likening this movie to the two aforementioned projects, Idiocracy resonates the most with Judge's previously explored "lowest common denominator" style comedy: Beavis and Butthead. Some of the lines seemed as though they could have come right from Beavis and Butthead, but not in a tired "I've seen this before" kind of way.

Idiocracy may not be the best comedy ever... However if you view our current American Idol-Paris Hilton-Pepsi Sponsored society with equal parts fascination and horror like I do, than yeah... You might want to see this one. If for no other reason but to stick it to Fox. Tell your friends!

*I give Mike Judge credit, but in all seriousness, the human race would actually have to exist 500 years from now to make this future come true. To be honest, what with global warming and war and etc.? I just don't think that's going to happen. But cut the man some slack, after all he conceived of this movie approximately 1/3 of the way into Bush's first term.


Linz said...

I love Office Space and King of the Hill. So good. Dang man.

Chris said...

One of the film's predictions is already on the verge of coming true:

litelysalted said...

Chris, that is terrifying.

Also? What gutter did those Cowgirl baristas crawl out of? One was fat and the other looked like a tranny. I've seen more presentable looking prostitutes on COPS.