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Overall Rating
4.21

Awesome: 40.16%
Worth A Look48.36%
Average: 5.74%
Pretty Bad: 4.1%
Total Crap: 1.64%

5 reviews, 92 user ratings


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Idiocracy
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by Robert Flaxman

"Satire on the razor's edge."
4 stars

Satires often run the risk of having people think that they’re celebrating the very things they’re created to lampoon. David Fincher’s Fight Club is one such example; even the people behind the film’s marketing seemed unsure of the film’s angle. Mike Judge’s latest film, Idiocracy, comes at least as close to the line and probably soars right past it – it’s funny, but sometimes you wonder what you’re really laughing at.

Set 500 years in the future at a time when the world – or at least America – has experienced breeding issues to a point where no one is left with an IQ above 90 or so, Idiocracy is the story of Joe Bowers (Luke Wilson), an average guy accidentally frozen for five centuries in an army experiment, who wakes up to find that he is suddenly the smartest person on the planet.

You might suspect that a gag built around most of the film’s characters being really stupid would get old kind of fast, and in fact it does. Judge’s satire is intended to poke fun at the modern world, and while mass culture does seem to aim at the lowest common denominator much of the time, that doesn’t mean it’s funny to watch those people running around simply acting the part. The funniest moments come from scenes that seem to veer almost into the realm of parody – water fountains that produce sports drinks, coffee bars that traffic in sexual favors, fast food chains that take over custody of your children if you can’t afford their overpriced items.

Judge has experience, of course, with depicting idiots – we can’t forget that he made his name with Beavis and Butthead. The question becomes, then, where is the line for Judge? The same question really applies to both Beavis and Idiocracy – are we laughing at how stupid something is, or are we laughing at it because stupid things can be funny?

There’s nothing inherently wrong with the latter, of course, but if you’re going to take Judge’s satire at full value, the idea is that we shouldn’t be. We should be laughing knowingly, perhaps, or laughing that someone else would laugh. Of course, this is a very smug position to take, and in some ways Idiocracy is a bit too smug for its own good. Its stated intention of getting people to read instead of, say, watching pro wrestling is admirable, but it’s so hidden behind a wall of sex jokes and crotch shots that one wonders if anyone was really supposed to notice.

This isn’t to say that the film isn’t funny – it’s definitely that – just that the humor is sometimes colored with the knowledge of what Judge is trying to achieve. Not that he can’t be dead on – the plot involving the sports drink Brawndo, “the thirst mutilator,” is pitch-perfect and probably the film’s best running gag. Judge knocks that one out of the park – it’s terrific satire and just hilarious to boot. Other scenes – like an overlong sequence in a gladiatorial arena setting – aren’t quite as strong. For the most part, the laughs do keep coming, but the ideas don’t always seem fully formed, and Idiocracy is at its best when it knows exactly what it’s saying.

If Judge’s position on the undereducated wasn’t clear from Beavis and Butthead, he’s certainly made it obvious now. There is a small shot at the “intellectual” type early in the film, as Judge basically dares upper-middle-class professionals to have more children, lest they lose the procreation battle. By and large, though, Idiocracy gets all its kicks by extrapolating the worst aspects of modern society into a future where intelligence has been bred out of existence. There’s almost a Twilight Zone-like vibe coming off the film, albeit about 180 degrees from what would no doubt have been typical Rod Serling gravitas.

Certainly vicious at times but quite intelligent at others and consistently funny throughout, Idiocracy is solid enough to merit a viewing. It’s been all but buried by the studio (thanks at least in part to its irreverent use of trademarks, I would bet), but if you can find it, Judge’s humor is worth a look.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=15157&reviewer=385
originally posted: 09/12/06 15:47:59
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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

8/15/17 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
6/01/16 j la mere and here comes trump 5 stars
1/24/16 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
4/25/13 RAY STEVEN FROST first time watched it was funny. second time scary!!! watch again in a few years. 5 stars
12/03/12 scub Nothing political about this movie. Why throw dubya into it? 5 stars
2/25/12 mikem "Welcome to Costco. I love you." Gets more better with time, and scarier. 5 stars
1/22/11 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
8/21/10 PAUL SHORTT SCATTERSHOT COMEDY 2 stars
7/31/10 not sure I can see some truth in the theory. 2 stars
6/14/10 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
9/23/09 Jackthecat This is a horror film disguised as a comedy 4 stars
9/17/09 jethro teh worstest moovie I hav evr saw. 5 stars
5/26/09 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
2/17/09 Ethan I thought it was "okay". Not great, but the premise alone saved it. Scares me to hell... 3 stars
1/24/09 David V Very funny, but also a little disturbing 4 stars
11/26/08 Roy Smith Take two jokes and recycle a hundred times. 3 stars
11/26/08 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
9/10/08 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
7/29/08 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
4/25/08 Dave just saw for the 3rd time- no longer funny, just terrified for my children 5 stars
4/08/08 Marshall Funny how Fox is the bad guy despite funding and releasing the film. Reviewer is idiot. 4 stars
3/10/08 Not Sure I'm not sure how this movie is getting good reviews...worst movie I've seen in years 1 stars
3/01/08 Fred Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho for President. 5 stars
2/03/08 David Sucked at first but then I realized it wasn't as faggy as I thought. 5 stars
1/30/08 andrew I haven't gotten sore from laughing at a move in a long time. This one is a scream. 5 stars
1/15/08 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
12/26/07 Jim I loved it... my wife hated it.... go figure!! 4 stars
12/20/07 D It doesn't get more spot-on than this 5 stars
11/24/07 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
11/11/07 Bob Siegler Funniest movie in years. 5 stars
11/08/07 Tim FOX dumped mostly since the execs considered it a documentary 5 stars
11/04/07 Skooby 1st 10 min should be condensed into 30 sec setup. After the time travel it's brilliant. 4 stars
10/27/07 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
9/19/07 Ben Larson Worst movie I have ever seen 1 stars
9/18/07 Jesse Absolutely true and scary. Still hilarious though! 5 stars
9/15/07 AnnieG My mom always said smart people should have lots of kids (she had 6) and now I believe her! 4 stars
9/12/07 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
6/24/07 Monday Morning Funny & premise is unfortunately true: dopes always have loads of dopey kids. 4 stars
6/03/07 Pigman This movie is very very funny. If there's ever a director's cut, the world must see it! 5 stars
5/26/07 whytlion Execution might have been flawed but the premise and message are brilliant 5 stars
4/10/07 coldcut You remeember tthis film long after you've seen it. 4 stars
4/03/07 AJ Muller Goddamn funny satire - but I kinda wanted to smack 85% of the people for being so stupid. 4 stars
3/31/07 Dominic 'Break it Down, Comacho!' 4 stars
3/30/07 fools♫gold thought = allegory = laughter = tears = forgetfulness = doingthethingthefilmtellsyounottodo 5 stars
3/29/07 Luke best quote "Your chart says you're fucked, you talk like a fag and shit's all retarded" 4 stars
3/20/07 David Pollastrini "Idiotic" would have been a more descriptive title 3 stars
3/15/07 zaw Very smart and funny movie I seen in a long time 5 stars
3/13/07 Indrid Cold "A pimp's love is different than a square's" 3 stars
3/07/07 curtis martin Has Judge been interviewed since the film's release? Was it mutilated by FOX? 4 stars
2/14/07 PacNW It had few big laughs but the movie was disappointing & inconsistent; could have been good 2 stars
2/06/07 Mahone Too true for the idiots to recognize themselves 4 stars
2/05/07 Peeneff Good sunday watching, good ass joke 3 stars
2/03/07 Behistun If you thought this film was dumb, you're going to love the future1 5 stars
2/01/07 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
1/21/07 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
1/19/07 Vic Fantastic movie. 5 stars
1/16/07 defwad7 Best comedy you've never seen. Watch it now! 5 stars
1/16/07 X Go watch before Fox decides to get rid of it 5 stars
1/15/07 RJ Somebody finally figured out whats going on out there! 5 stars
1/11/07 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
1/01/07 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
10/17/06 Melissa Glad I was in the right place at the right time to catch the only smart comedy this year 5 stars
9/19/06 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
9/13/06 Jorge Coronilla Yeah. This is one was good. 5 stars
9/09/06 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
9/04/06 John Anderson Oh great, here we go again with the Fox news is the devil comments. 5 stars
9/04/06 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
  N/A


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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