Luke Wilson, Maya Rudolph and Dax Shephard star in Idiocracy, a surprisingly clever "dumb" movie from the director of cult classic Office Space. Wilson stars as an average Joe (named Joe) who is signed up for a military experiment to get frozen for one year. However, that one year turns into 500, and he is brought out of hibernation in a world where the stupid people in our society have out bred the smart ones to the point where there are only idiots left on the planet. Suddenly, this average Joe finds himself as the smartest man on the planet, but with intelligence comes high expectations - expectations he cannot easily fill.
Fans of Mike Judge were shocked when Idiocracy was released to six theaters across the nation with absolutely no marketing campaign. After all, Judge is the man who invented Office Space, one of the most popular comedies of the last decade, and Idiocracy, about a world full of idiots, should be pretty easy stuff to market. Unfortunately, it has essentially been relegated to a direct-to-DVD release, which is a shame as Idiocracy is a pretty funny movie.
While not without its flaws, Idiocracy is consistently funny. While it may seem like a bunch of fart jokes strung together, the movie is in fact making fun of entertainment that relies on fart jokes. Idiocracy is not a perfect satire, and is probably a love-it-or-hate-it one, but it has some great moments, and even the not-so-great ones have some appeal. After all, in Judge's world, the Oscar-winning picture is called "Ass" and is just a 90-minute shot of a man's butt. One of the top-rated television shows is called "Ow, My Balls" and features a man getting kicked in the balls, repeatedly. The President of the United States is a former wrestler. And there are no new crops because things are "watered" with Gatorade, not water.
It's smarter than it sounds, so give it a chance.
Idiocracy is a pretty good comedy, but still pales in comparison to Office Space. Watch it once, enjoy it, and then move on and wait for Mike Judge's next, hopefully better-marketed comedy.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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