Wednesday, April 26, 2006

American Dreamz

As previously posted, Rusty and I went to see American Dreamz last Saturday. As I'm sure everyone knows from the commercials, it's a parody of "American Idol." What I didn't know until my mom told me when I mentioned that I was going to see it was that it is also a parody of the Bush administration. Before typing that sentence I spent a lot of time debating whether this movie was a spoof, a parody, or satire. I suppose since a spoof is a form of parody and parody is a form of satire that it is, in fact, satire. Wikipedia defines satire as a literary technique which exposes the follies of its subject to ridicule, often as an intended means of provoking...change. The humor of...satire tends to be subtle, using irony and deadpan humor liberally. And that, my friends, was the main problem of American Dreamz.

Written and directed by
Paul Weitz of American Pie fame, this movie was silly, not biting. Obvious, not subtle. A bad attempt to try to make satire out of two things that have become intrinsically satirical anyway. The producers really do look for freaks, or at the very least, people with interesting back stories. People really are two-faced and dangerously competitive. Terrorists really are plotting against our country. The tagline is, "Imagine a country where the President never reads the newspaper, where the government goes to war for all the wrong reasons, and more people vote for a pop idol than their next President." While this may be a hyperbole, how far from the truth is it really? This movie had excellent potential, but I felt like someone came up with the idea and then wrote the screenplay in a day. Absolutely nothing was wrong with the movie except for the writing. Sometimes when the jokes write themselves, they're not as funny.

Anyone who has seen more than one episode of "American Idol" will recognize the Clay Aiken type, the Bo Bice type, and the black diva type singing songs excellently written by
Stephen Task, who also wrote the music for Hedwig and the Angry Itch. The American Dreamz theme song, which features the lyric, "American Dreamz, dreamz with a z" is no worse than any of the real coronation songs that Idol winners have had to sing, and that is funny. I would have much preferred to lose the Bush bashing in favor of more jabs at past contestants and the type-casting of which American Idol is so fond.

American Dreamz stars
Hugh Grant as a Simon Cowell/Ryan Seacrest hybrid, Dennis Quaid as the Prez who is likely to be easily distracted by shiny things, Mandy Moore (who I feel is holding her own as an actress) as a viciously ambitious "American Dreamz" contestant, Willem Dafoe as the president's Cheney-esque puppet master, Chris Klein as the dim-witted, wounded-in-combat army veteran boyfriend, Jennifer Coolidge as the stage mom from hell, and Sam Golzari as the Iraqi soldier with a penchant for show tunes.

Don't pay movie theater prices to see this movie, or, if you insist, go to a matinee and skip the popcorn. If you hate Bush or love "American Idol" rent or Netflix it.


Blogger noelle feather said...

What if you hate American Idol but are OK with Bush? (I'm kind of being serious, and kind of funny, too).

4/26/2006 7:13 PM  
Blogger Rusty said...

Feather, if you feel that way, it will piss you off royally. I won't discuss politics (EVER) on my blog, but I will say that it started to get very, very grating the way the president in this movie was portrayed, knowing what they were going for with it. I don't agree with our current president's ideas sometimes, but I don't hate the man. It seemed like these people did. It was pretty funny at times, though. :)

4/26/2006 8:37 PM  
Blogger Jenny G said...

Feather, I wouldn't bother to see it then :).

Rusty, I thought the political satire dragged the movie down. It has been done.

4/27/2006 7:31 AM  

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