Here's X-Ray Cat with a look at Mike Judge's IDIOCRACY, a formerly high profile film whose stealthy nature and delayed release have eleveated the project to an almost mythic status.
We're constantly getting e-mails about this project: "Where is it?" "Why is it delayed?" The answer is dire: the film has been unceremoniously relegated to a limited relase...BEGINNING TODAY.
Seven cities: Austin, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, and Toronto. If it does well in those cities? Then perhaps The Powers That Be will widen its distribution. "Perhaps" being the operative word here.
NOTE: there has been next to no publicity about this release; you may have to dig deep in your local movie listings to find it. Fandango does have listings for it it...at least for the few cities I checked. We ran a piece about this situation HERE.
With that in mind, here's X-Ray Cat with his thoughts in the film. He really liked it -- he is not a plant. In fact, many of his reviews previously run on AICN have been intensely negative. He seems to be "a tough room"...for whatever that's worth.
Hello, X-Ray Cat again, just coming home from the midnight IDIOCRACY showing at the Arclight here in LA, possibly one of less than a hundred showings the film will ever have.
IDIOCRACY has been at LORD OF THE RINGS anticipation level for comedy geeks like myself for years now, going back to when it was called 3001 and the only thing going for it was a handful of amazing online script reviews, and the name Mike Judge, creator of two of the most iconic shows of our time and one of the most beloved cult comedies of the last decade.
Rumors have been building up since then about terrible test screenings and lawsuits and reshoots and all sorts of Gilliamesque production problems, and the general consensus has essentially become that the final product would be a disaster, and the thing's been dumped unceremoniously into the ether like so much RV waste.
And now that I've seen it, I know for a fact that FOX is fucking retarded. They made the same mistake with OFFICE SPACE eight years ago, and they didn't learn a thing. Mike Judge deserves better, because he's put together another brilliant cult comedy that will turn audiences hoarse with laughter, while weaving in dangerously clever satire that's spookily on target, made all the more clear by the treatment its received from FOX, which is obviously run by the same type of morons who populate Judge's future, the network execs who greenlight shows like "Ow, My Balls!" and movies such as ASS (which is no more complex than the title implies.)
The film starts with an introduction explaining exactly how the world lost its mind; the intelligent couples take things slow and steady, factoring in their economic situation, while trailer trash continue to crank out babes in arms at an alarming rate, eventually leading to a race of ghettoized hillbilly stoner burnouts who throw all their money at corporations, who in turn dumb themselves down to the level of the people, until all logic and sense completely evaporates from normal, day-to-day life, and national crises pop up that no one is smart enough to handle, from surplus garbage avalanches to unattended crops.
This is where Joe Bauers (not Bowers) comes in, an exceptionally average Army librarian who becomes victim to a failed life-preserving experiment that leads him to wake up 500 years later in this world, along with a simpleton prostitute Rita, who agreed to the experiment for a few extra bucks. Joe enlists lazy and incompetent lawyer Frito, who got his law degree from Costco, to help him and Rita find a rumored Time Machine, and trying along the way to help President Camacho, a wrestler-turned-national-leader, to fix the big mess, seeing as how Joe is now the smartest person alive.
Watching Joe, Rita, and Frito navigate the future America is the most fun I've had in a while. Between well-placed CGI and creative set design, Judge has created a whole new world covered in pointless technological advancements and obnoxious marketing ("If you don't smoke Tarkinsson cigarettes...fuck you!"), and every corner and crevace is splattered with minute details that are as hilarious as the foreground action. It's the same great energy of Dinohattan in the SUPER MARIO BROS movie, except it serves as the background to a superior film.
The performances are every bit as iconically well-timed as the ones in OFFICE SPACE, and if this movie ever reaches an audience then Joe, Frito, and Camacho will become just as oft-imitated as Lumbergh, Lawrence, Peter, Samir, and Michael. Luke Wilson gives arguably the best comedic performance of his career as he mutters in surprise at modern marvels such as Starbucks becoming a bordello. Dax Shepard finally lives up to his promise as the slow-talking best friend whose favorite comeback involves threatening to put the subject of the original insult up the insulter's ass. And above all, Terry Crews will bust many a gut with his motorcycle-riding, bird-flipping President. Judge regulars Stephen Root and David Herman also give small but memorable performances, as does a scenery-chewing breakthrough role from the underrated Wilson brother, Andrew.
From beginning to end, the movie is consistently smart, funny, and slick. Its warnings hit all too close to home in our real world, where Pacific Sun has become Pac Sun, Looney Tunes have become Loonatics, and new energy drinks pop up every day promising to be more XXXtreme than the one before it. In fact, you have to wonder if the total lack of marketing attention comes from pressure from the companies Judge is satirizing, from the Carl's Jr. vending machines offering "Super Big Ass Fries," to the greenish Gatorade send-up: "It's got electrolytes!"
Basically, you either think Mike Judge is a true American genius, or you're one of the people who still thinks "Beavis and Butthead" is "stupid" and "King of the Hill" is "for rednecks." And if you're a fan of Judge, you can rest assured that all the rumors are heresy, and all the troubles are not stemming from the movie but from a studio that has no idea what it has on its hands.
So seek this beautiful bastard out anyway you can, and turn it into the cult it's destined to be. Or else its prophecy may come true sooner than later.