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Overall Rating
4.2

Awesome: 39.83%
Worth A Look48.31%
Average: 5.93%
Pretty Bad: 4.24%
Total Crap: 1.69%

5 reviews, 88 user ratings


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Idiocracy
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by brianorndorf

"Fox didn't try to hide the film, they tried to kill it!"
4 stars

What Fox doesn't want you to know is that Mike Judge's "Idiocracy" is a funny movie. What they REALLY don't want you to know is that the picture is an incisive and uncomfortable look at where America is headed. The finished product is a hastily-edited mess, but Judge's wit survives, and the final mix-tape of a film contains some huge laughs.

After the rabid successes of “Beavis and Butt-head,” “King of the Hill,” and the cult supremacy of “Office Space,” one would think that 20th Century Fox could’ve extended some level of trust to writer/director Mike Judge when it came to his latest film, “Idiocracy.”

What’s finally being shown to audiences after two years sitting on a shelf gathering dust is a Frankenstein’s Monster of a film, pieced together by a studio looking to pull off cinema’s greatest single act of irony: they’ve dumbed down a film about dumbing down.

Private Joe Bowers (Luke Wilson) is volunteered by his commanding officers to take part in an experimental hibernation program that will put him to sleep for one year. Sent under with a prostitute (Maya Rudolph), the program is eventually cut short, with Joe’s tube lost for 500 years. When a garbage avalanche ends his centuries-long slumber, Joe awakens to find the year 2505 and a whole world evolved into idiots. Branded the smartest person alive by the professional wrestler/porn star president (Terry Crews), Joe is given the task of saving America from starvation, but all he really wants is to get back to 2005.

In many ways, “Idiocracy” is similar to the hack job that Paramount pulled on Louis CK’s “Pootie Tang.” Judge’s film is something near a complete mess, with the opening 20 minutes pushed and pulled like taffy to cover what feels like 45 minutes of footage. Slapped with narration that hand-holds the viewer through storylines and important scenes we’re not allowed to see, the opening act of the film is a jarring rush of settings and characters that make little sense and lends the film a sloppy quality I refuse to believe was Judge’s intention.

Thankfully, Judge’s sense of humor does escape through Fox’s sweaty fingers. When you boil the picture down to the essentials, it’s uproarious in primitive slapstick ways and as a potent bitchslap of a social commentary. Opening with the frightening concept that America’s future is not in the hands of the most intelligent, but the most fertile and irresponsible (aka the poor), Judge’s script begins to claw away at not only America’s corporate sponsorship culture (some get paid to end every sentence with “Brought to you by Carl’s Jr.”), but their entertainment tastes as well. The number one show on television? “Ow! My Balls!” Favorite channel? The Masturbation Network. The top-grossing film of all time? “Ass.” Just 90 minutes of a man’s ass, with an occasional fart escaping.

Judge has it out especially for Gatorade (called “Brawndo“ here), using the general uselessness of sport drinks to emphasize the deceptive nature of predatory corporations, and the gullibility of consumers who will believe anything they read. Even electrolytes.

This is a world where citizens are named Frito and Beef Supreme, Starbucks is a place that only sells handjobs, Fuddruckers is considered the Mona Lisa of trash dining, and if a subject doesn’t pertain to sex or farting, nobody wants to discuss it.

“Idiocracy” eventually heads over to the political realm, turning a presidential address into a wrestling main event, and opening up the idea of capital punishment as gladiatorial fight to the death with tricked out cars, scored by a whole section of head-banging guitar stoners.

As a satire, “Idiocracy” is a cold steel blade to the gut. Judge relishes his opportunity to expose our insatiable need for stupidity, and he takes that to the most grandiose possible conclusion for maximum effect. Still, the film remains a thoroughly hilarious affair, due mostly to the cast’s glee in dragging their knuckles for a change and Judge’s satirical targets, some of which might hit too close to home for many viewers.

Even if the film contains the single biggest laugh I’ve had this year at the movies (imagine the Washington Monument pool turned into a jet-ski paradise), “Idiocracy” is a terribly muddled affair. The heart of the film appears to have been ripped out in the process of streamlining the feature for mass consumption. While Judge’s touch remains interwoven into the piece, the finished product doesn’t move the way we’ve come to expect from this director.

The picture has some potent ideas on dysgenics and where humanity is headed, and how much citizens are complacent when their lives are bought and sold; ideas that felt like they were once properly layered into a feature film. Not anymore with this version of “Idiocracy.” I don’t care how much Judge might’ve screwed up originally, if cinematic history tells us anything, it’s best to leave this talent alone

I’m starting to sense “Idiocracy” might be the new “Superman II.” Perhaps one day audiences will be treated to Mike Judge’s full, unobstructed version of this ambitious satire, but for now, all we have is this DVD. After years of thinking we wouldn’t even get this far, it’s wonderful to finally get a chance to see what Judge had up his sleeve, and to watch what Fox was so fearful of releasing. Keep your expectations low, and there’s an often hilarious, sly little feature to be found in here somewhere.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=15157&reviewer=404
originally posted: 01/05/07 17:35:21
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User Comments

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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