DVD Review: Idiocracy
Release Date: January 9, 2007
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
· Mike Judge
· Luke Wilson
· Maya Rudolph
· Dax Shepard
· IMDb: Idiocracy
by Alex Keen
Published: January 9, 2007
"Idiocracy" is best known as the movie that sat on a shelf for two years and then disappeared into three small theaters this past summer. The movie never had a trailer nor any semblance of a marketing campaign. Yet movie fans on the 'net have been anticipating the DVD release so as to have an opportunity to see why this movie withered away in 20th Century Fox's bowels for endless months.
"Idiocracy" tells the story of one average Joe who travels to a future where society's worst nightmares have come true. The intelligent people of the world have stopped breeding while the dumb have spread their feeble genes like a virus. Humanity no longer has intelligent thought and survives through the automation of computers. Water has been replaced by a Electrolyte-packed drink, while Carl's Jr. is the only remaining food source. This average Joe, played by Luke Wilson, is the only hope for the world and must use his basic knowledge to save society.
The ludicrous concept of "Idiocracy" is just the kindling for this movie's comedic flames. Making the future worse than the past is a great premise to start with and allows writer/director Mike Judge to make some bold statements about modern society. Comedic bulls-eyes are successfully aimed at major corporate chains like Costco, Starbucks, Carl's Jr., and Fox News. One example of Judge's abuse of these companies involves Starbucks' future sale of sexual favors like hand jobs. While the humor based on these corporations isn't the only statement Judge is making about modern society, it is consistently the funniest material.
While, for the most part, the comedy is consistent and strong, the acting in "Idiocracy" has its flaws. Luke Wilson does a good job with the material he's provided, coming across as the average Joe in a bizarre future. The majority of Wilson's jokes are successful and avoid over exaggeration. He's a strong straight man in this wacky, mixed up world. Unfortunately, his supporting cast doesn't always live up to its role.
Wilson's co-stars, namely Maya Rudolph and Dax Shepard, never really support Wilson's well-rounded performance. Both of their characters are one-note and would have been aided by a rewrite. Rudolph's character is a simpleton whore who's role is obviously just to be a plot device. Shepard's character at least has more depth but is challenged by the fluctuating level of his intelligence. Had these characters been combined in some way they might have provided stronger story elements for the protagonist to encounter.
Overall, the story told in "Idiocracy" is disposable. It lacks any weight or importance and acts only as a delivery apparatus for Judge's jokes and commentary. Fortunately, the comedy (especially the visual jokes) in this movie is consistent and smart. Whether it's a running gag about Electrolytes or a future Oscar-winning short about a man's flatulent ass, the jokes here are funny and maintain that standard after multiple viewings. A cameo by Justin Long (of "Galaxy Quest" and "Dodgeball") is especially funny and worth watching again.
"Idiocracy" might never become more than a cult classic or stoner favorite, but that's better than the future explored in this movie. Mike Judge's follow-up to "Office Space" successfully entertains even when aiming for the lowest common denominator. It never deserved to sit on a shelf and will hopefully receive a second life on DVD.
This disc includes just one sparse special feature - deleted scenes. The scenes lack an intro and only one is even remotely funny. The only other special feature included with this DVD is perhaps the worst DVD menu ever. The interface is nearly impossible to navigate and is an exercise in frustration. Let's hope a cult following will push this movie into "Special Edition" territory.