In our current New Film Reviews, you'll find Robert Abele's take on Mike Judge's new film Idiocracy. It's not exactly a rave, but we've slammed other films much harder 'round here:
The strange irony of Fox off-loading the new (yet long-completed) Mike Judge comedy without screenings, trailers, posters, or marketing is that in the IQ-obliterated future Judge's movie envisions, the biggest evil in the collective sanding of our brains is arguably advertising. Luke Wilson plays a present-day average joe experimentally frozen by the Army and forgotten about until he's accidentally awakened in 2505, where he discovers a slovenly, sophomoric, masturbatory, junk food-engorged world of mental midgets who first imprison him, then make him Secretary of the Interior once they realize he's probably the smartest man in the world. It's an eat-your-cake-and-have-it-too concept–stupid humor as dystopian satire–but this low-boil affair from the Office Space auteur wears out its dumb-and-dumbest playbook early on. When we see CGI cityscapes of neglected, barren skyscrapers and monuments tilting, it's somehow appropriate: the movie just feels off. If you crave a lively and funny trek through the farcical possibilities of unchecked dimwit power, Judge is still your guy. Just go rent Beavis and Butt-Head Do America instead.
That preview appeared as Idiocracy was opening in theaters all over Orange County and Long Beach. And when someone in the office got reports that Judge's film did not suck and was instead a brilliant observational piece on the sad direction this country is headed in, we decided to give the film a second look. Well, to be perfectly honest, that “someone” was Publisher/Editor Will Swaim, the “reports” were the feelings of one of Will's trusted friends and the “we decided” was Will saying he wanted the film re-screened and re-reviewed.
And so, our intrepid film writer Greg Stacy sashayed into his local ginormoplex, caught the picture in a clearly un-packed house and–lo and behold–loved it just as much as Will's friend. You can read his reconsideration of the film here and in this week's print edition.
But, funny story about that piece appearing in a paper designed to tell Orange Countians what to do and see and hear and smell and eat this weekend: Idiocracy will already be gone from Orange County and Long Beach theaters by then. As Greg writes, “Fox is dumping this thing like a radioactive turd, releasing it to but a handful of cities, with no TV or radio ads, no posters, no media press kits . . . basically, the only way you'll know this movie exists is if you happen to run into Judge somewhere and ask him what he's been up to lately.” And Fox's strategy seems to have worked.
Informed of this development, Greg had this to say: “Sweet mother Mcree… those Fox borstords! There's an idiocracy running that place.”