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Idiocracy (2006)

May 18, 2010

6/10 Dope Shows 

Eh, not my favorite thing by Judge, but a pretty inspired effort all the same.

Idiocracy is about an exceptionally ordinary army Private and an exceptionally ordinary hooker who get roped into a military experiment where they’re put into a hibernated state for a year, but then a wrench gets thrown in the works and they find themselves snoozin’ for an extra 500. Turns out, Darwin was an idiot and didn’t account for all the mass moron inbreeding that would eventually overwhelm the Earth’s population by 2505, so when these two guinea pigs show up in a world where everyone’s IQ is that of a turd with a heartbeat, they wind up being the smartest people alive and have to fix everyone’s problems before it all goes to shit.

Seems to bear an awfully close resemblance to Futurama if you ask me, but hey, nothing worth complaining about there.

So after worshipping Office Space, immediately forgetting about Extract as soon as I left the theater and chalking up Beavis and Butt-Head Do America as the under-appreciated comic gold that it is to anyone who cares to listen, it was about damn time I finally got around to completing my tour of the Mike Judge catalogue and see what all this word of mouth was about (not counting King of the Hill, I don’t have that kind of time). The thing I’ve always liked about Mike was that his best ideas were simple ones driven by simple, relatable characters in simple, relatable circumstances, and maybe I’m just not hip to some time traveling phenomenon that’s been going on over the past four years, but this is a bit of a change in direction for the guy.

But despite having this “high comedy” premise going for it, there’s really just one big thing driving every single aspect of this movie: epic stupidity. Now, sometimes stupidity of this caliber can be as good as it gets (e.g.: Dumb and Dumber), but here it just gets to be a bit much after a while. Don’t get me wrong, it is funny, but I found it kinda weird that I thought the funniest part of the whole thing was a gag involving an Army official who gets involved in the ways of pimping, and that whole bit takes place before our average Joe and Jane even get to the future.

The problem is that while I was expecting everyone to be pretty unintelligent in this movie, I was pretty surprised to find that they were all more or less operating on neanderthal levels. Strangely enough, everyone here is too stupid.

It works for some characters like Terry Crews as President Dwayne Elizando Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho, but then you have someone like Dax Shepard as a lawyer named Frito who more or less drools on his urine-stained knickers for the whole running time and it just didn’t do it for me. Doesn’t help matters that I can’t fucking stand Dax Shepard, let alone any of those douchebags who rose to “fame” from Punk’d, but everyone’s just so damn stupid that it ends up working against the movie in the long run.

Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph are good as our soldier and tramp of the hour, I just wish they weren’t playing off jackasses the whole time.

I don’t know, folks, even I’m kind of taken aback at how critical I am of this movie and that’s why I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt. Idiocracy‘s definitely a smart comedy that has its moments, but it’s also stupid as hell. Usually I’m all for stupid, especially stupid done right – which is exactly what I think this movie’s getting at – but for some reason other than Dax Shepard, it didn’t gel. At the moment, that 6 up there is pretty generous, but I’m hoping that’ll change when I watch it a second time with people who love it. Worked for The Big Lebowski, here’s to hoping it works for this one, too.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. May 18, 2010 2:01 am

    I couldn’t handle Idiocracy…

  2. May 18, 2010 6:55 am

    All Matt Judge movies are usually hit-or-miss, including his tv shows. But usually Office Space is the film everyone loves.

  3. May 18, 2010 9:12 am

    Ah, too bad you didn’t like this one that much. I thought it was pretty good, in a completely stupid way. It’s hard to put praise on it, because it is so over-the-top. I just thought it was very skillfully done. Agreed though that Dax Shepard is the weakest link and shouldn’t be in movies.

  4. May 18, 2010 11:09 am

    I agree with you. It was really too idiotic despite the interesting premise. I also couldn’t get behind Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph as the two leads, that was a somewhat odd bit of casting to me.

    • May 18, 2010 11:10 am

      Man, I’m surprised by all the people backing me up on this one. I was feeling like an outcast there for a while.

  5. mcarteratthemovies permalink
    May 18, 2010 3:03 pm

    I’m going to have the be the one to come to this movie’s defense — OK. I’ve been the cheese before; I know how to stand alone! 🙂

    Everyone talks about how idiotic this movie is, and to a degree everyone’s right. Stupidity is present at every turn, and nearly every character has a brain the size of a chickpea. But people get so wrapped up in the dumbness that they don’t see the satire. It’s there, and it’s sharp. Consider the fact that Brawndo already exists, or the way everyone speaks. “Jackass” was around before “Ow, My Balls.” And think about how many shows are on now where the characters can think of no better words to say than “like” or “um.”

    I also think Judge took the movie in a genius direction by NOT showing the future as progress. Underneath all the dumb humor, there’s that. It’s a layer of darkness you don’t see at first, but when you notice it it makes you feel sick.

    • May 18, 2010 3:18 pm

      Seconding M, the dumbness is why this film works. No one likes looking at the world they live in and being told “fix this, dumbass before it gets REALLY BAD!”.

      • May 18, 2010 3:32 pm

        The thing is, I get the satire and that’s why it works as a smart comedy instead of just idiots on parade for two hours, but they are just so. fucking. stupid. Some of the stuff here is dead in this regard, like the #1 movie Ass, but it’s also kinda hurting itself since a lot of the humor is just drenched in such borderline-mentally challenged behavior. Not like it’s offensive or anything, it’s just too easy and base to work consistently.

        Man, I feel like one stuck-up mother effer talking about this movie like this.

  6. May 18, 2010 4:47 pm

    There will be no lone cheese with me around: I fucking love this movie to death.

    “Strangely enough, everyone here is too stupid.” To be fair, subtlety has never been Judge’s strong suit.

    I’ve found that this movie gets exponentially funnier with each viewing. At least it has for me. I was a bit ambivalent my first time out, but grew to love the shit out of it, for all the shit going on in the background, if nothing else.

    • May 18, 2010 4:50 pm

      lol, I’m hoping I have the same reaction the next time I see it. I’ll keep you posted, man.

  7. May 21, 2010 12:26 am

    I thought the movie had a lot of clever satire, but there weren’t nearly enough laugh out loud moments for me. Started to feel like Mike Judge was just hitting you over the head with his message about society again and again towards the end.

    • May 21, 2010 7:21 am

      Well said, man. Just too much stupidity, got in the way of a lot of the things Judge was doing right.

  8. Pablo Chiste permalink
    May 24, 2010 2:26 pm

    This is the smartest stupid movie ever. The social commentary is spot on. I’ve taught at inner city middle schools where all the water fountains are broken and the vending machines don’t have any water, but they’re stocked with Gatorade.
    And as far as the characters being too stupid, you sir, must be spending too much time at Mensa wine tastings.

    • May 24, 2010 2:41 pm

      hahaha, I don’t think I’m alone on the overly-stupid thing. It definitely is a smart satire, and I’m all about stupid, but good lord were those people stupid. Felt like I was getting beat over the head with it. Will give it another shot someday though.

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