When I first heard about Idiocracy I really wanted to see it. Then I forgot about it and never did. Perhaps it was because the movie was released without any promotion, or TV ads and ran only in selected theaters. Time magazine has some interesting thoughts on why this has happened.
Anyways, on to a review:
This is the future that awaits us…
The central idea behind Mike Judge’s Idiocracy is fairly simple. It is based on an an observation that the most highly educated and career driven people in our society usually have small families with few or no children. On the other hand poor education and lack of employment tends to be associated with large family size. Judge (perhaps misguidedly) assumes that this disparity is directly tied to intelligence, and that intelligence is a purely genetic trait. He then extrapolates this into a trend which in 500 years would yield a massive net drop in the average human intelligence. In other words, the idiots out-breed the smart people and inherit the earth.
The protagonist, Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson) is a soldier who gets picked to participate in a top secret military experiment in cryogenics (because of his average performance and lack of immediate family he is deemed as expendable by the army). He and a civilian volunteer, a prostitute named Rita (Maya Rudolph), are frozen in special cryogenic pods, and are supposed to be revived in one year. Unfortunately, the program is so secret that it becomes forgotten and the two wake up in the year 2505. There they discover that the evolutionary idiocy of the population so severe, that Joe is the single most intelligent person on the planet.
As one could expect the movie is full of fart jokes, and “dumb guy” gags. But these jokes are not really intended to be funny to the audience. In fact most of them come out a little bit flat. They are just the backdrop of the apocalyptic vision of the future. Idiocracy is really a satire of the present trends – the rampart consumerism, ignorance, media sensationalism and the worship of celebrity icons. The real humor lies in the subtle caricature of our obsession with the pop culture.
The movie is campy, the costumes look cheep and cheesy, the sets are dirty and tacky, and most of the dialog is atrocious to say the least. It is of course the intended effect, but it makes the movie look like some really bad B class production. So, in a way, it’s no wonder Fox could not figure out how to adequately promote it. There is just no flashy special effects, and no witty exchanges, or cheap laughs that could have been worked into a trailer.
It’s a little bit ironic how a movie that pokes fun at our obsession with CGI, and cheep gags could not get good trailers because it didn’t have any.
Of course this is no Office Space. Mike Judge went in a different direction here, and this movie has very different brand of humor. If you are looking for another Office Space, you probably will be disappointed. Still, I think Idiocracy is worth at least a rental.
Btw, Netflicks has it in their selection. ;)