by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5 stars)
Luke Wilson as PVT. JOE BOWERS
Maya Rudolph as RITA
Dax Shepard as FRITO
Terry Crews as PRESIDENT COMACHO
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: Mike Judge
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Don’t worry. Even though it might be a cheap shot to say that the title of the film “Idiocracy” isn’t just a name, but a review as well, it’s not as bad as you might expect. It’s not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but it has it’s moments.
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Consider “Idiocracy” to be a retarded “Blade Runner.” The story follows Private Joe Bowers (Luke Wilson), a man of total mediocrity who is chosen to be part of a military experiment in suspended animation. He’s joined with a hooker named Rita (Maya Rudolph), and they’re put to sleep in high-tech tubes. However, when the project is de-funded by the government, Joe and Rita are left to sleep for 500 years.
When they wake up, they find themselves in a world where people have dumbed down to the point of idiocy. This leaves Joe and Rita as the smartest people on the planet. While some might consider this a badge of honor, Joe and Rita are hunted down and put in jail. While they’re able to manipulate their way out of some situations, the President (who also happens to be a pro wrestler and porno star) wants them to solve society’s problems – a feat that no one could possibly manage.
“Idiocracy” is the second feature film directorial appearance of “Beevis and Butthead” creator Mike Judge. It’s a far cry from Judge’s flagship effort “Office Space.” The concept is far more grand, yet his biting commentary on modern society is dead on. In some ways, while Mike Judge may be one of the most cynical men on the planet, he’s got a great eye for irony.
Possibly the biggest impact that “Idiocracy” might leave you with is the overall concept. It’s quite scary to watch the first ten minutes, which lays out the logical argument that the human race is getting dumber with each passing generation. While we egomaniacal humans like to think we’re the pinnacle of evolution, a stroll through any number of places (like the mall, a public school or a state fair) might convince us otherwise.
Considering how fast the Jerry Springer crowd is reproducing (and the popularity of things like reality television) there’s a certain truth to idiocracy heading on its way to rule the planet. We may look back at this film in 500 years and realize that Mike Judge was better able to predict the future than Arthur C. Clarke did with “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
I remember seeing posters for this movie at a local cineplex, but it never reached the screens in my town. I’m not sure of the exact reason, but I imagine it didn’t help that the film was a bit hard to swallow. It definitely has some rough spots. The plot is thin, and it’s no surprise that much of the movie relies on low-brow humor and fart jokes.
Still, I had some fun watching it. Luke Wilson does a decent job, although Maya Rudolph is sorely out of place absent the “Saturday Night Live” set. There are some decent cameos, including a fun bit with Thomas Hayden Church as a rock-stupid CEO.
The DVD comes with a thin selection of special features. If you can find them in the ridiculously obnoxious animated menu, you’ll get a chance to see a handful of deleted scenes.
I doubt that “Idiocracy” will find its way to the cult status that has kept “Office Space” alive for all these years, but it’s worth a look – especially if there’s beer involved.
Specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Widescreen (1.85:1) – Enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Spanish language track. French and Spanish subtitles. English subtitles for the hearing impaired.