Tuesday, March 3, 2009

IDIOCRACY (Mike Judge, 2006, USA) Luke Wilson in literally an average Joe, a victim of the military’s unnatural selection for a cryogenic experiment: he awakes to a nightmare of ubiquitous obtuseness, a future society where stupidity has evolved as the status quo. Mike Judge’s dunce capped satire is over-the-top hilarious but not far from current cultural trends where Reality TV dominates and Conglomerates consume the landscape. Isaac Asimov wrote about the decline of human intelligence years ago, as professional couples have fewer children than poor and uneducated women who birth new monstrosities on a regular basis. Multiply this by a few centuries and this militant satire, though impossible (an elite class would still be needed to run the computers and maintain the infrastructure), still resonates with a tone of truthfulness and ill-humor. The attention to detail is farcically incisive: clothes slathered with advertising, grunts and inane slang as a common denominator, sex infusing every facet of society (even Starbucks & Fuddruckers), Costco’s huge warehouse crouched amid the rubbish-strewn environment like some Lovecraftian horror, and the redacted history that literally depicts Chaplin as THE GREAT DICTATOR and has UN (pronounced monosyllabically) dinosaurs saving the world from fascist behemoths wrapped in Nazi regalia. Though funny, this prescient warning should be headed as we see the rise of Creationist Museums that vomit their religious myths as fact: the human race is becoming lost in a blink of a cosmic eye, stumbling towards extinction…by our own hands! Unfortunately, the voice-over narration is annoying, as Mike Judge seems to have contempt for the very audience he wishes to reach: we don’t need omniscient explanation. But Luke Wilson as Joe and Maya Rudolph as Rita are excellent as they exemplify the empathetic human spirit, this emotional connection that otherwise would leave the audience to despise the entire species. IDIOCRACY is sinfully smart and those who rave about American Idol, Dancing With The Stars or Wife Swap…just don’t realize the joke is on them. (B-)

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