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Idiocracy should have been great.  Mike Judge’s dystopia is immediately recognizable yet clearly hyperbolic.  (Ethan Cohen co-wrote the screenplay, he also co-wrote Tropic Thunder, for whatever that is worth).  Luke should certainly be able to excel at anything Ron Livington does.  Maya Rudolph has the comedic chops, and I must admit I was not aware how slammin’ she is.  And call me crazy, but I think Terry Crews is woefully underappreciated.

So what happened?  I think the idea appeared so engaging at first, it seemed the jokes would write themselves.  Except they didn’t.  Granted, the movie is littered with gags.  The lettering of the hospital comes to mind.  But the gags become increasingly infrequent, which is exacerbated by the boredom between them.  Making the movie doubly frustrating.  Frustrating for not being entertaining, and for taking so long to get to the next gag.

I don’t particularly like using the word, but Idiocracy felt surprisingly “conventional.”  The setting was original, but the storyline could have used some serious sprucing up.  I don’t know if it is just because the movie was done by Mike Judge, but I wonder if the ideas would have been more effective as a TV show supported by a team of writers.

By the way, I’m sure seeing Idiocracy a month before Wall-E is affecting my judgment, but I’d totally believe WALL-E as a sort of sequel to Idiocracy.  As in Idiocracy taking place just before people leave Earth.  The two movies share many of the same sensibilities, at least.


June 2008
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