Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ryan Watches A Motion Picture #53: Idiocracy (2006)

Fox News, giving you its best.

Mike Judge of Beavis and Butthead and Office Space fame came up with a movie that was little advertised and little seen during its limited theatrical release. Higher-ups clearly washed their hands of this one for some reason. It's a shame, since it's really not that bad. Not a great achievement by any filmmaking stretch, but certainly not bad.

Set in 2505 and taking a page from Woody Allen's 1973 film Sleeper, Idiocracy features an average joe waking up to find himself in a future that doesn't make any sense. Because statistically the more educated you are the less children you have, humanity has grown dumber with each generation and can no longer look after itself. It's a world of couches, lame television, belligerence, and crudity and....well, it's pretty much like our world I guess, which is the point.

The film makes some frightening sense in some places, and it's clear commentary on human nature and the more embarrassing aspects of this society we've constructed for ourselves. On that front the film could have had a lot more fun than it did, but there wasn't so little that the film was vapid for it, which made me very glad.

The acting is only at par here though, as nobody in the film, save maybe for Luke Wilson's lawyer, goes out of their way to really make a scene work perfectly in terms of delivery and timing. The visual effects are colourful and fun and never get to the point where the setting overpowers the plot or humour. That's probably due more to budget concerns than directorial restraint, but I'll give Judge the benefit of the doubt on this one.

So: Pretty much as people have told me - cool stuff, fantastic concept and worth the watch. But it's a damn shame more wasn't done with the concept.

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