Movie Review – Idiocracy (2006)
by RISHI AGRAWAL
For those of you that don’t know, this is the film that Fox would not promote. When Idiocracy was released in theaters, it had a very limited opening. There were no trailers or TV spots or even screenings for critics. This is not an uncommon occurrence by big studios, but for some reason, the media caught wind of the movie being buried and started to publicize it.
All sorts of kooky rumors cropped up. Some people said the film was so subversive that The Man would not allow it to be released. Others said that some of the corporations that were lampooned in the film did something to prevent its mass release. The more plausible explanation is that Fox executives did not like the movie or found it too difficult to market, and found themselves in an awkward position due to their contractual obligations with Mike Judge. I find the very idea of a conspiracy ridiculous, since Fox is in the movie business to make money. They just simply did not want to spend any more money on the film than necessary. This was probably poor judgment on the part of the executives. After all, Office Space, Judge’s first live-action film, was a cult hit, and who doesn’t love Beavis & Butthead and King of the Hill? Though the saga of the movie might be more interesting than the movie itself, this is a film review. If you are really fascinated by the subject, the Wikipedia article on Idiocracy provides several links to articles about the unceremonious release of the film.
An army desk jockey Joe (Luke Wilson) and a prostitute Rita (Maya Rudolph) travel five hundred years in the future as a result of military experiment gone wrong. They were initially selected for this experiment because they are average in every way. (Prostitutes are average?) Due to the gradual dumbing down of society, they find that they are the smartest people on the planet.
The film begins with a funny, yet insightful case study. A young professional couple with high IQs is shown contrasted with a low IQ trailer park dweller named Clevon. The young professional carefully weighs the pros and cons of having children. They admit that is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. Meanwhile, Clevon will procreate with anything that moves. The professional couple ends up not having any children while Clevon has a plethora of progeny.
I have not seen any statistics speaking to the fact whether stupid people have more children than smart people. It is a fascinating concept, though I could see how it might lead to some controversy. Unfortunately, that concept, in and of itself, does not make a good movie.
There are bits in the movie to be admired. In one scene, Rita finds a way to convince the denizens of the future to give her money, even though she doesn’t have sex with them. In another scene, Joe finds the hospitals of the future are outfitted with computerized diagnostic machines, since, presumably, no doctor is smart enough to diagnose patients.
Unfortunately, however, we find that, in the future, all people care about is sex, money, and violence. Their idea of humor is fart jokes and watching people get hit in the balls.
In the future, the most popular movie is called Ass, which wins the Best Picture and Best Screenplay at the Oscars. In the future, Starbucks gives hand jobs. Perhaps I am not the right audience for this movie, but I don’t find those jokes too funny. The humor does not lie in the jokes themselves, but in the fact that the characters in the movie find those jokes funny. On one hand, perhaps that saves the jokes from being juvenile, but it still feels kind of degrading to laugh at this kind of victimization of the stupid.
I don’t want to ride too far on some kind of moralistic high horse, but the fact is, even in such a short movie (clocking in at 84 minutes), the idea gets old. Okay, people are dumb. Sure. I’ll go with it. But what else do you have for me? The well runs dry fairly quick.
2 1/2 stars