The Electric Commentary

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Idiocracy

Mike Judge made Fox a fortune when "Office Space" became a cult favorite, now appearing on Comedy Central and Spike TV almost every weekend. As a reward they let him make Idiocracy. If you've never heard of Idiocracy don't be embarrassed. It was released for only one weekend, in only 7 cities, with no promotion save for a few NPR stories which mainly mentioned the fact that it received no promotion.

So, what's the story? Is it any good? Why did they shelve it?

Idiocracy dares you to laugh at it. It is rife with toilet humor, physical comedy, and sight gags. Men are repeatedly kicked in the testicles. Farting is common. Violence is the rule. And Starbucks will give you a "full body latte" complete with happy ending.

But Judge's world is composed entirely of morons. If you laugh at their culture, what does that say about you? You may think that you're laughing with Judge, and not at the hit show "Ow, My Balls," but this is where Judge gets you.

Idiocracy is the story of the military's most average man played by Luke Wilson, but before we meet him we meet three people. The first two are a high-IQ couple who puts off having children until it is too late, to say the least. The third is a redneck named Clevon who fucks and impregnates everything that will stop long enough to let him. Judge adds a helpful family tree every time Clevon scores. It is not long before Clevon's tree takes up the entire screen, while the smarties have checked off this mortal coil, literally forever.

Back to Luke Wilson's character, Joe. The army wants to be able to save its best men so they decide to learn to freeze people. They test their new tech on Joe and a hooker. Predictably, Joe is forgotten about and wakes up 500 years in the future, where everyone is now a Clevon, making Joe the smartest man in the world.

The first person that Joe encounters, a Lawyer named Frito, is sitting on his combo toilet/recliner watching the violence channel. He cannot be disturbed and so he takes one more drink from his beer tube, flushes, and ejects Joe from the premises.

And so it continues. Everyone is Butthead, society is dying, and they deserve it.

And it's funny. But while the topic is high-brow, the humor is low brow, and every time you laugh you're just confirming Judge's worst fears. The Onion once ran a headline about Beavis and Butthead that was along the lines of:

Slackers who watch MTV enjoy show about slackers who watch MTV.


At least a portion of Idiocracy appeals directly to the idiots that are being mocked in Idiocracy. This may be the reason that Fox gave it such short shrift. Most of the time the movie insults its audience. It hits too close to home.

That said, it's definitely worth a rental, and it may very well end up on Spike TV and Comedy Central ad nauseum, and make Fox another fortune even though they tried to kill it. They simply failed to realize that stupid people can't always tell when they're being mocked.

Can you?

2 Comments:

  • I had a similar reaction to Idiocracy. It's funny, but it's also a bit scary and not so unvelievable. Do you think Fox may have not advertised for it much due to pressure from Costco and Gatorade and all of the other companies it mocks as being liked by idiots?

    By Blogger DannyNoonan, at 9:39 AM  

  • And don't forget Fox. He doesn't do the sterotypical rip on Fox News for being conservative, but he still hits them.

    I guess Carl's Jr. actually paid for product placement. I wonder how they felt about the final product.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 10:03 AM  

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