Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Movie Review: Idiocracy (2006)

Idiocracy (2006) co-written and directed by Mike Judge

Lackluster military librarian Joe Bowers (Luke Wilson) is selected for a test of a human hibernation system in 2005. He's only supposed to be under for a year but a snafu leaves him in hibernation until 2505 when he's accidentally released. In the meantime, the world has become astonishingly dumb, thanks to the influence of brainless television and rampant consumerism. He's now the smartest man in the world, which is a big relief for the president of the United States (who is also a popular wrestler and porn star). Crops aren't growing, dust storms are everywhere, and the economy is tanking. Can an average Joe save the world with his unconventional ideas like using water instead of Gatorade to water plants?

The social satire is fun and nicely over-the-top. Joe's ability to make it through the strange and unfamiliar future is certainly based on the fact that he's smarter than everyone else, not necessarily on the fact that he is smart. Even a modicum of common sense can go a long way in overcoming corporate and political stupidity. Future politicians and cabinet members are all products of popularity contests and corporate endorsements. Most everyone wants to look cool on TV or in front of everyone around them. The prediction of extreme shallowness is surprisingly resonant only ten years after the film was made.

Mike Judge is the creator who brought us Beavis and Butt-Head, King of the Hill, and Office Space. Some of the comic bits lean more towards Beavis and Butt-Head in their outrageous vulgarity which I found a little disappointing (though I did laugh). The other satire (of the legal system and the government) was much sharper and more enjoyable. This film isn't as funny as Office Space, but it is as biting.

Recommended and refreshing in this abysmal political season.

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