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Overall Rating
4.21

Awesome: 39.84%
Worth A Look48.78%
Just Average: 5.69%
Pretty Crappy: 4.07%
Sucks: 1.63%

5 reviews, 93 user ratings


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Idiocracy
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Mike Judge Does It Again--Too Bad Fox Doesn't Want You To See It"
4 stars

Since the beginning of 2006, 20th Century Fox, the studio that has brought you such cinema classics as “Ten Gentlemen From West Point” (1942), “The Model and the Marriage Broker” (1951) and “Two of a Kind” (1983), has, by my count, released 13 feature films: “Grandma’s Boy,” “Tristan & Isolde,” “Big Momma’s House 2,” “Date Movie,” “Ice Age 2,” “The Sentinel,” “Just My Luck,” “X-Men 3,” “The Omen,” “Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “My Super Ex-Girlfriend” and “John Tucker Must Die.” Some of these titles made money, some were flops and, with the exception of “Prada,” critics and audiences considered them to be disposable nonsense at best and outright crimes against the art of cinema at worst. However, even the shabbiest of these titles (let’s say “Grandma’s Boy” and “Date Movie”)were at least given half a chance to succeed in the marketplace by the studio–trailers ran before virtually every movie playing in the multiplex, commercials appeared on all your favorite TV shows, ads ran in all the papers, magazines and websites and they were booked into a couple of thousand theaters each. Whether the end result brought in enough money to justify the expenditure (as it did with “Date Movie”) or not (as with “Grandma’s Boy”), at least those involved with the making of those films could say that Fox at least gave them a shot at connecting with the movie-going public.

Having done all of that, you would think that Fox would extend the same courtesy to writer-director Mike Judge and his latest effort, the futuristic comedy “Idiocracy”–after all, he has earned no small amount of money for the studio over the years with the long-running TV show “King of the Hill” and 1998's “Office Space,” a film that flopped on its original release (thanks in part to an uninspired ad campaign that gave no real indication of what it was) but went on to become a cult favorite on cable and DVD. And yet, you would be wrong–having kept the film on a shelf for nearly a year, Fox has decided to dump “Idiocracy” in only a few theaters in a few cities with no trailers, no commercials and, as far as I can see, not even a poster or a newspaper ad to announce its arrival. In fact, while talking with a few local critics the day before its release, most of had never even heard that it was opening and when I asked the local publicist about, she said that she knew absolutely nothing about it. This type of half-assed distribution plan–one seemingly designed specifically to result in theaters as empty as the one I saw it in–would be perplexing enough even if the movie in question were an utter dog but it is especially inexplicable in this case because “Idiocracy” is a hilarious delight from start to finish–a rambunctious skewering of contemporary culture that is just as smart, funny and edgy as Judge’s “Office Space” and would no doubt become just as much of a cult favorite if audiences were actually given an opportunity to see the damn thing.

“Idiocracy” takes its stepping-off point from one of the more popular of science-fiction conceits–an ordinary man from our time somehow wakes up hundreds of years in the future and struggles to come to terms with how the world has evolved over time and how some things never seem to change at all. This time around, our hero is Joe Bowers (Luke Wilson), a soldier chosen for an Army cryogenics experiment solely because he is so profoundly average in every way. The plan is to put him into a state of hibernation for one year to test a program that will hopefully freeze perfect soldiers so that they will be ready to fight any future wars. Unfortunately, before the year is up, the colonel in charge of the project is thrown in prison, the base is razed to make way for a Fuddruckers and the cryogenic chamber containing Joe is lost for the next 500 years. The problem, as we learn in a hilarious program, is that during that time, evolution in America has taken a turn for the worse–thanks to excessive breeding among the dumber members of society, the idiot population exploded to an unparalleled degree. As a result, when Joe is finally awoken, he has entered a world where toilet seats have found their way into the living room (so no one has to miss a minute of such TV shows as “Ow–My Balls!”), the most popular periodical is “Hot Naked Chicks & World Report,” the top authority figures all appear to be former wrestlers and last year’s Best Picture Oscar went to a film simply called “Ass.” (To be fair, it does appear to be an improvement on “Crash.”)

Joe tries to explain his predicament to those he encounters but because he speaks in complete sentences that utilize proper English, the narrator explains, “He sounded pompous and faggy to them” and he is quickly imprisoned. After escaping from jail (in a manner that must be seen to be believed), Joe wanders across the burned-out landscape–where nothing natural seems to grow, Costco has literally grown to the size of a city and Starbucks has diversified in a manner that will cause you to never see a latte in the same way again–while searching for a time machine that court-appointed lawyer Frito (Dax Shepard) has mentioned. Before long, he is apprehended again and brought to see President Camacho (Terry Crews)–according to the IQ test he took in prison, he is by far the smartest man in America and is duly charged with solving all of the country’s problems. He tackles one–the lacks of crops–but when his solution has unforseen short-term economic consequences, the people rebel and throw him to their version of the lions (some ginormous monster trucks) without realizing that they may be dooming their only hope for survival.

From his early days as the creator of “Beavis & Butthead,” Mike Judge has been casting a caustic eye at the gradual dumbing-down of contemporary society by a populace that would prefer to zone out on a diet of crappy junk food and crappier entertainment and which harbors a profound fear and mistrust of anyone trying to aim a little higher with such highfalutin nonsense as reading a book or using correct diction. Of course, many assumed that by depicting those attitudes, Judge was somehow commending such behavior instead of condemning it and he was duly criticized by those who should have really known better. With “Idiocracy,” Judge is showing us that not only have things not changed for the better in the decade-plus since “B&B,” things have actually gotten worse and he is mad as hell about it. Although a comedy through and through, there is a palpable sense of anger throughout at the idea of a once-proud country devolving into a giant mini-mall run and populated by a group of people who not only could not tell the difference twixt Shinola and that there other stuff, they are actually proud of that fact. (Pointedly, we never see or hear what is going on in the rest of the world but it can be assumed from this omission that other countries have not been similarly afflicted.)

What is especially frightening is the fact that we are already closer to the future posited by the film than we might want to admit. Take the joke about the TV show “Ow, My Balls!,” a program that appears to consist entirely of a guy getting slammed repeatedly in the groin. Sound farfetched? Maybe, but just a couple of weeks ago, I happened to tune into one of those reality shows where average Americans demonstrate their “talents” before a hooting audience and one basically consisted, as far as I could tell, of a guy getting hit in the groin with various objects.

And I suspect that it is that rage beneath the surface that soured Fox on the film and led them to essentially bury it from view. After all, there are plenty of people out there who love wrestling and eating fast food and who probably think that a toilet in the living room isn’t a half-bad idea after all–why potentially alienate them with a film that suggests that the lowest common denominator is not something that they should be proud to be a part of? I guess I can understand that particular point-of-view but if that were true, why did they bother to agree to produce the film in the first place? Although I haven’t read the original screenplay by Judge and Etan Cohen, I can’t imagine that this aspect of the screenplay was hidden from view. All I can surmise is that no one from the studio actually went through the screenplay before putting it into production for fear that admitting that they actually read it might make them seem “faggy” to their fellow corporate drones.

Although admittedly rough and scattershot in parts–the amount of narration used to fill in story points suggests that many scenes were either deleted at the last minute or never completed (I understand that one major effects sequence was saved from the axe only when Robert Rodriguez, a pal of Judge’s, offered to provide the visuals for free)–“Idiocracy” is nevertheless a hilarious film that is about a thousand times better than Fox’s dumping strategy would lead you to believe. Ironically, if Judge had been rejected by Fox and forced to find financing and distribution from a smaller entity–one that wouldn’t have been afraid to handle an intelligent satire on its own terms–he might have actually had a better shot at getting it seen by the public. Sadly, he didn’t and the only people who will be able to get a chance to see it in theaters are those souls lucky enough to have it turn up at a theater near them–at least when it eventually becomes a cult favorite in its own right, they will be able to brag that they were there with it from the very beginning.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15157&reviewer=389
originally posted: 09/01/06 21:16:20
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2016 Boston SciFi Film Festival For more in the 2016 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

11/25/17 danR I watch few comedies; but it was well spoken of, so yeah, Trumpian-brain-damaged funny. 4 stars
8/14/17 FireWithFire America after 2050 ( hint, hint....). DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN!!!! 4 stars
6/23/17 Oscar A prophecy of American culture in 2010 forward... 5 stars
5/31/16 j la mere and here comes trump 5 stars
1/23/16 jim in the north Absurd? I see signs that we're trending that way. 4 stars
12/31/13 Ste Jones This to me is a horror flick and one of the scariest in years! 5 stars
4/24/13 RAY STEVEN FROST first time watched it was funny. second time scary!!! watch again in a few years. 5 stars
12/02/12 scub Nothing political about this movie. Why throw dubya into it? 5 stars
2/24/12 mikem "Welcome to Costco. I love you." Gets more better with time, and scarier. 5 stars
1/21/11 rd The most intellectual movie in recent years. 5 stars
9/12/10 SLIM JIM What's left of this film is just threatening enough make it clear why Fox tried to can it. 4 stars
8/20/10 PAUL SHORTT SCATTERSHOT COMEDY 2 stars
7/31/10 not sure I can see some truth in the theory. 2 stars
6/13/10 paul wain triffik 5 stars
4/09/10 comacho War is the natural way for an idiocracy to eat itself 5 stars
3/29/10 BIll Obama is making it a reality today! 4 stars
1/13/10 Lin Worth it for Dr. Lexus' (Justin Long) scene alone. 4 stars
9/22/09 Jackthecat This is a horror film disguised as a comedy 4 stars
9/16/09 jethro teh worstest moovie I hav evr saw. 5 stars
5/25/09 Melvin Martin The funniest movie I've seen in years! (5/25/09) 5 stars
4/30/09 KsbjA Insanely funny, witty, and with a message... awesome! 5 stars
2/16/09 Ethan I thought it was "okay". Not great, but the premise alone saved it. Scares me to hell... 3 stars
1/23/09 David V Very funny, but also a little disturbing 4 stars
11/25/08 Roy Smith Take two jokes and recycle a hundred times. 3 stars
11/25/08 Leo T poorly paced, I expected a much better movie 3 stars
9/30/08 xonic you know it will probably happen america is a country of dumbasses 5 stars
9/24/08 Agree I love money...Yeah! 5 stars
9/09/08 Bill Dwyer This movie is damn funny. I've seen it three times now. 5 stars
8/11/08 KingNeutron BITING social commentary - I rented based on a friends recommandation and liked it. 4 stars
7/28/08 Bob M. It's like the Twilight Zone did a comedy! Thank you Mike Judge. 5 stars
5/25/08 BadWebDiver VERRRRRYYY clever political satire 4 stars
5/12/08 Felix B-T Best comedy I've seen in years, wish it had been longer. 5 stars
4/24/08 Dave just saw for the 3rd time- no longer funny, just terrified for my children 5 stars
4/07/08 Marshall Funny how Fox is the bad guy despite funding and releasing the film. Reviewer is idiot. 4 stars
3/09/08 Not Sure I'm not sure how this movie is getting good reviews...worst movie I've seen in years 1 stars
2/29/08 Fred Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho for President. 5 stars
2/02/08 David Sucked at first but then I realized it wasn't as faggy as I thought. 5 stars
1/29/08 andrew I haven't gotten sore from laughing at a move in a long time. This one is a scream. 5 stars
1/14/08 Rich FUNNIEST MOVIE, BAR NONE, I HAVE EVER SEEN 5 stars
12/30/07 blake rosemier funniest movie I've sen maybe..ever. As many catch-phrases as Holy Grail IMO 5 stars
12/25/07 Jim I loved it... my wife hated it.... go figure!! 4 stars
12/19/07 D It doesn't get more spot-on than this 5 stars
11/23/07 Skippy Brilliant...I mean Kickass! If you don't like it you SUCK!!! 5 stars
11/23/07 andy n horrible movie only because it was so heavily edited and canged 2 stars
11/10/07 Bob Siegler Funniest movie in years. 5 stars
11/07/07 Tim FOX dumped mostly since the execs considered it a documentary 5 stars
11/03/07 Skooby 1st 10 min should be condensed into 30 sec setup. After the time travel it's brilliant. 4 stars
10/26/07 TDS A wrestler/porn star for President...I can see that happening soon. 4 stars
9/21/07 Meggo Feels unfinished but it's still better than most "comedies" the machine churns out nowadays 4 stars
9/18/07 Ben Larson Worst movie I have ever seen 1 stars
9/17/07 Jesse Absolutely true and scary. Still hilarious though! 5 stars
9/14/07 AnnieG My mom always said smart people should have lots of kids (she had 6) and now I believe her! 4 stars
9/11/07 Alan I watched this the night of the Brittany/MTV debacle. Art imitating life 4 stars
8/07/07 Johnny the liberal I like how some spineless critics have to declare the movie apolitical before approving it. 4 stars
7/19/07 ES The sad part is I could easily see all of this happening 4 stars
7/16/07 Del A great Dark Comedy. This stuff is too true. 5 stars
6/23/07 Monday Morning Funny & premise is unfortunately true: dopes always have loads of dopey kids. 4 stars
6/02/07 Pigman This movie is very very funny. If there's ever a director's cut, the world must see it! 5 stars
5/25/07 whytlion Execution might have been flawed but the premise and message are brilliant 5 stars
4/09/07 coldcut You remeember tthis film long after you've seen it. 4 stars
4/02/07 AJ Muller Goddamn funny satire - but I kinda wanted to smack 85% of the people for being so stupid. 4 stars
3/30/07 Dominic 'Break it Down, Comacho!' 4 stars
3/30/07 fools♫gold thought = allegory = laughter = tears = forgetfulness = doingthethingthefilmtellsyounottodo 5 stars
3/28/07 Luke best quote "Your chart says you're fucked, you talk like a fag and shit's all retarded" 4 stars
3/19/07 David Pollastrini "Idiotic" would have been a more descriptive title 3 stars
3/14/07 zaw Very smart and funny movie I seen in a long time 5 stars
3/12/07 Indrid Cold "A pimp's love is different than a square's" 3 stars
3/06/07 curtis martin Has Judge been interviewed since the film's release? Was it mutilated by FOX? 4 stars
2/13/07 PacNW It had few big laughs but the movie was disappointing & inconsistent; could have been good 2 stars
2/05/07 Mahone Too true for the idiots to recognize themselves 4 stars
2/04/07 Peeneff Good sunday watching, good ass joke 3 stars
2/02/07 Behistun If you thought this film was dumb, you're going to love the future1 5 stars
1/31/07 Heiko FOX is a bunch of idiots - did they recognize themselves? This is an excellent movie. 5 stars
1/24/07 Ole Man Bourbon Like totally um awesome dude. 5 stars
1/20/07 Sano Most people can't find New Orleans on a map. Is the movie that far off? 5 stars
1/20/07 Nick some laughs, but overall too much of a one-trick pony 3 stars
1/18/07 Vic Fantastic movie. 5 stars
1/15/07 defwad7 Best comedy you've never seen. Watch it now! 5 stars
1/15/07 X Go watch before Fox decides to get rid of it 5 stars
1/14/07 RJ Somebody finally figured out whats going on out there! 5 stars
1/10/07 Mike A few laughs but just sooooo dumb that it got kinda annoying. 2 stars
1/10/07 rocky Wow, what a crazy flick. I'm gonna have to turn people on to this one. 4 stars
12/31/06 forgeflow Will colour your perception of popular culture long after seeing it - a mark of true art 5 stars
12/31/06 John Hilarious low-production value movie. Movie will stay with you long after its over. 5 stars
10/16/06 Melissa Glad I was in the right place at the right time to catch the only smart comedy this year 5 stars
9/18/06 FLaussen "Go away... 'batin." Genious. A MUST see! 5 stars
9/16/06 Miles the film's problems are proof that genuine satire bites the hand that feeds it 5 stars
9/12/06 Jorge Coronilla Yeah. This is one was good. 5 stars
9/08/06 michael good stuff come on fox wake up 4 stars
9/05/06 ThatWriterChick The future is now. "Ow -- My Balls" would be a mega-hit on Fox. 4 stars
9/04/06 nick milo A great comedic ride. Original and refreshing. A+ 5 stars
9/03/06 John Anderson Oh great, here we go again with the Fox news is the devil comments. 5 stars
9/03/06 ajay laughed out loud many times: "Carl's Jr. Fuck You. I'm Eating." great stuff! 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  01-Sep-2006 (R)
  DVD: 09-Jan-2007

UK
  N/A

Australia
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Directed by
  Mike Judge

Written by
  Mike Judge
  Etan Cohen

Cast
  Luke Wilson
  Maya Rudolph
  Dax Shepard
  David Herman
  Stephen Root
  Justin Long



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