Friday, April 21, 2006


There’s this scene in the movie…one of the characters, Omer, is an Arab who has dreams of singing and dancing, makes it onto American Idol-esque show American Dreamz, and is in turn recruited to blow himself up, along with the United States President, who is a guest judge on the finale of the show. There’s this scene in which the guy in charge is talking to Omer, telling him that he’ll make it to the final round of the show when Omer has doubts, that the people will definitely vote for him. Omer asks, “Because they like me?” The main terrorist guy responds, “No, because you are a figure of fun to them.”

Such is my feelings on the film (see what I just did there? I took a bit of the film and used it as a larger example of the film in general...that's professional stuff there baby). I don’t particularly like it, but it is a fun watch. I don’t like because, for a comedy, it’s not especially funny, and for a satire, it’s not especially smart or with anything to really SAY. But it is very easy to watch, and there is enough stuff in there that makes it a pretty enjoyable watch, just not for any of the reasons you’d really expect (unless you're all about really obvious jokes about the intellect of a Southern president and the nature of what kind of star a show like American Idol will make of you, which is totally cool).

The cast is really good, it’s just a shame that largely they have nothing to do. Dennis Quaid does especially good work as President Staton, who is pretty much a view on President Bush through and through. But despite the fun pokes at him, there’s a really great character in there, and there was a scene that got a huge sympathetic reaction from the audience. A Boston audience at that (in case you haven’t heard, this town is liberal as hell).

But besides that, Hugh Grant’s Martin Tweed, the host and judge of American Dreamz (the show) isn’t particularly interesting, though Grant tries his hardest. Same goes for Mandy Moore’s Sally Kendoo (which really sounds like the name of an adorable little kid somewhere), the rising star of the show, and…well, really the rest of the cast. When Willem Dafoe and Judy Greer (a name you may not recognize, but she’s a fantastic actress on many levels; she was Orlando Bloom’s sister in Elizabethtown, though her best work is as Jeffrey Tambor’s secretary on Arrested Development) can’t even make their characters interesting, you might be in trouble. Seth Meyers (who did John Kerry on SNL) is in it, though, as Mandy Moore’s agent, and he’s fantastic.

But largely, sooooo many of the jokes just fall flat, relying mostly on its premise to amuse people (and it is a damn good premise). And there are any number of characters that will just piss you off (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I just wanted to take Omer’s gay cousin and pour molten lava on him).

So should you see it? No. Find Brick or Thank You For Smoking or Inside Man (in that order), all of which are spectacular. And I’ll be seeing The Sentinel pretty soon (the one with Kiefer Sutherland and Michael Douglas in the CIA), which seems like one of those movies you’ll have kinda figured out by now whether or not you want to see.

1 comment:

Ken said...

I hear Scary Movie 4 is a gem. Your thoughts?