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Frat Pack Tribute Movie Review: Idiocracy

Review by Brandon Angelilli

Many movie buffs have heard of Mike Judge’s (Beavis & Butt-Head, Office Space) latest live-action comedy, Idiocracy, but the majority of these fans have not seen it and until the film hit DVD on January 9th had little chance of seeing any part of it. Fox dumped the movie in only seven cities and three of those were in Texas and none in New York! With no advertising or fanfare (not even a trailer!), the movie, as expected, did very little business.

The film was completed in 2004 with Judge dealing with the studio’s unwillingness to put forth any dough for special effects or promote the finished product ever since. Poor test audience screenings are probably the cause of the real death of this film but that doesn’t exactly mean Fox did the right thing. The studio was just too scared to widely distribute the film theatrically and potentially spend more money advertising than the film could actually gross in theaters.

In this comedic satire, Luke Wilson portrays a remarkably unremarkable U.S. soldier named Joe who is the most average man on earth and perfect for a top secret military cryogenics experiment. The experiment fails and Joe wakes up in the year 2505, to discover an America so dumbed-down he’s the smartest man on earth. Maya Rudolph plays a prostitute named Rita who is also frozen in time. Together, the two navigate this new “Uhh-merica” (a land in which Costco provides everything, “Ow My Balls!” is the most popular show, and an ex-wrestler and porn star is the president of the U.S.) in search for answers and a possible way home.

The movie starts out with a very funny premise showing that the rampant breeding of humanity’s slowest witted members will lead to an inevitable decline in the population’s median IQ. With the IQ continuing to dwindle and Americans becoming more lazy and unwilling to work hard to solve problems, naturally things get dumbed-down. Even simple things like disposing of garbage properly or growing crops seem like impossible tasks to the simpleton future Americans. When Joe arrives on the scene, and begins to ask the natives what’s going on, they laugh at him for talking “faggy” and they think he is the retard!

In a funny scene at the hospital, which features Frat Pack Pledge Justin Long in top form, it’s is discovered that Joe is “unscannable” and he is eventually arrested for this and sent off to prison where he receives his new “name” and his IQ test is administered. The prison scenes are actually a little scary but never fear, Joe “excapes” in a humorous manner. After prison, Joe reunites with his very dumb lawyer Frito (played by Dax Shepard) and finds Rita and the three of them search for a way to get Joe and Rita home by way of a time machine. On the way to the time machine, Joe is found to be the smartest man in the world and the president promises that Joe will fix all of the world’s problems. Will Joe fix the problems or will he simply give up on humanity and blend in?

Fans of Mike Judge, Luke Wilson, and/or the Frat Pack will have plenty to laugh out loud about. The visual gags are hilarious and the stupid people throughout the movie will provide chuckles for a variety of different reasons. Judge’s story may not be a perfect vision but it does make you stop and wonder. Wilson’s character provides the voice of reason throughout the film by asking the kind of questions viewers will shout at the screen all the while turning in an honest and funny “Mitch-like” performance. Possibly his best work since 2003’s Frat Pack Classic Old School. In addition to Long’s cameo, Dodgeball’s Stephen Root also makes a quick appearance as the judge in Joe’s trial and Luke and Owen’s brother, Andrew, has a nice performance as Beef Supreme in the climactic rehabilitation scene. Also, true Frat Pack fans will enjoy another wonderful music score by frequent Frat Pack composer Theodore Shapiro who arguably puts in his best score since Starsky & Hutch and probably his most different sounding ever since this film had sci-fi elements not usually found in comedy.

Overall, the movie is well done but also full of flaws. Much of the blame falls Fox for not fronting the money for finished effects and reshoots but Judge will also face judgment for not writing a tighter script which shows it’s weakness by how heavily the film relays on a narrator . The acting is surprisingly well done, especially from Wilson and Randolph and although Shepard’s character is annoying, his acting is fine and in some places quite humorous.

Idiocracy has all potential and right pieces to become a cult hit and will be liked in a similar vein to shows like The Simpsons, Beavis and Butt-Head, and South Park, which means that intelligent people and not-so-smart people will be laughing for different reasons but laughing all the same. Enjoy this movie because it’s funny, smart and full of electrolytes!

****

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