AKA Planet Stupid
Starring Luke Wilson, Maya Rudolph, Dax Shepard, Terry Crews, Anthony Campos, David Herman, Sara Rue, Kevin McAfee, Robert Musgrave, Michael McCafferty, Justin Long, Andrew Wilson, Kevin Klee
Directed by Mike Judge
Expectations: Moderate. I knew close to nothing going in except it was about stupid Americans and Mike Judge made it. What else do you need to know?
So there’s this movie about ridiculous, satirical, future extremes of American consumerism? And I haven’t seen it yet? What? Somehow this slipped under my radar but that has now been rectified. This kind of thing could go so wrong though. It could end up being so ridiculous that it misses the point. It could be great for the first twenty minutes and then devolve into fart jokes. Thankfully, it mostly steers clear of convention and I found myself thoroughly entertained.
An Army librarian (Luke Wilson) is chosen to test a new human freezing procedure. Along for the ride is a prostitute played by Maya Rudolph from SNL. Anyway, the cryo tubes get lost and the test subjects aren’t awakened at the prescribed time. Instead they wake up in the year 2505, where, after 500 years of the stupid people having babies, the American public has degenerated into infantile, entertainment-consuming idiots. Shows such as Ow, My Balls! on the Violence Network top the charts. People can’t even speak correct English anymore.
The thing with Idiocracy is that through all the idiocy, it is incredibly smart. Every small detail can be traced to a common, everyday occurrence in our times. The use of real corporations in the film is a huge success that wouldn’t have the same resonance if the filmmakers were forced to come up with sound-alike names that make you say, “Oh, that’s supposed to be McDonald’s.” Not in Idiocracy. Here we are treated to miles-long Costco’s, people named Frito and Beef Supreme, and my favorite, the new Carl’s Jr slogan of “Fuck you! I’m eating!”
The film is so ridiculously over-the-top but it works for this film very well. I do have to mention that there is some horribly bad computer-generated landscapes in the film, but it is a minor flaw in an otherwise well-done film. In fact, I was so entertained with the biting, social commentary that I didn’t even notice much about the filmmaking. I felt like I was 12 again, enjoying a film simply for its entertainment value.
If you haven’t seen this film, I wholeheartedly recommend it if you are at all frustrated with the hypocrisy of the current American society. Also, if you enjoy any of Mike Judge’s other stuff like Office Space or King of the Hill you need to add this to your list. It’s stupid, but it’s funny as hell.