directed by Mike Judge
(20th Century Fox, 2006)

Mike Judge's Idiocracy is a silly but brilliant social satire that was crushed by the studio system. For reasons unknown (or unconfirmed), no promotional materials other than posters were released, no previews were held for critics and the movie was only ever released theatrically in seven cities.

Don't let this lack of studio support prevent you from picking up this great title on DVD, however.

Idiocracy is set in a futuristic world in which unintelligent people have out-bred the intelligent ones. Army librarian Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson) was part of a hibernation experiment in 2005 that accidentally lasted 500 years, to the modern age of the film, and he awakes in a world in which his brand of average common sense is regarded as "tardation."

Bauers lacks the required barcode tattoo of every citizen and has an unusual amount of common sense and ability to question the status quo. He's jailed and accused of crimes, but has the knowledge to save the planet (by watering crops with water instead of sports drinks, and so on).

The genius of Idiocracy is its criticism of modern consumer culture, of branding, of Costco-like warehouses, fast food and our addiction to Starbucks. If this had gotten a wider release, many of the catch phrases would pervade pop culture, like those from Office Space have done. Did the studio crush this movie for fear of a corporate backlash from the American brands parodied? Maybe. Do yourself a favor and pick it up on DVD.

review by
Jessica Lux-Baumann

27 October 2007

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