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“‘A movie that was originally a comedy, but became a documentary’: Google the title of Mike Judge’s 2006 movie IDIOCRACY and that’s the UrbanDictionary.com definition that greets you, a wiseass aside that doubles as a concise the-sky’s-already-fallen commentary. It’s not like the writer-director had set out to give us a buzzword for a cultural dumbing-down destined to end up 20,000 leagues below the common denominator. (This was a gentleman who was still best known for creating cartoon kids obsessed with headbanging and TP for their bungholes.) Judge just wanted to crack people up — his digs at corporate omnipresence and a complete bureaucratic breakdown may draw more blood than your average Beavis & Butt-head gag, but they’re still nestled next to an extended clip of a TV show entitled Ow! My Balls!
“…For those who haven’t seen it, Idiocracy starts off with a PSA-like prologue: Evolution at the beginning of the 21st century, we’re told, is at a crucial turning point. The herd is no longer being thinned out to favor the fittest. Qualities like intelligence and ingenuity have taken a backseat to the quantity of offspring produced by, say, a low-IQ high school football player who mindlessly fucks anything that moves. Einstein makes way for Joey Buttafuoco as the natural-selection poster boy. Stupid is as stupid does, and in this world, that means procreating at an exponentially higher rate than your average working-class Joe Lunchbox, much less your middle-class hoity-toity intellectuals.
“In fact, our hero, an unambitious military everydude named Joe Bauers (played with maximum mellowness by Luke Wilson), is neither a brainiac nor a blue-collar grunt; he’s the most average person in the armed forces, the kind of guy whose primary skill is, according to his superior, “sittin’ on ass.” Joe does what he’s told even when he’s ordered to take part in an experiment involving a year-long cryogenic hibernation. While he and his fellow recruit, a streetwalker (Maya Rudolph, bringing the sneer), lie in a state of suspended animation, the program gets canceled. Time marches on, the collective I.Q. goes down; society’s descent is charted by the chain restaurant Fuddruckers slowly morphing over the centuries until it finally, inevitably changes its name to Buttfuckers. By the time Joe is awakened from his slumber, he finds himself in a third-world shantytown overrun with fast-food restaurants, mile-high garbage mounds, misspelled signs, blockbuster movies that are two-hour close-ups of someone’s ass, and obese mouthbreathers who speak a hybrid language comprised of ‘hillbilly, valley girl, inner-city slang and various grunts.’ Welcome to America in the 26th century.
“But like Office Space, Judge’s earlier live-action comedy that opened to confusion and the sound of crickets, IDIOCRACY found a second life on DVD and a cult audience that only seems to be getting larger. While doing the promotional rounds for his HBO show Silicon Valley earlier this year, Judge told The Verge that people are constantly sending him details and pictures of real-life idiocracy-style scenarios and then telling him ‘Hey, you predicted it right!’ The term is now showing up in Op-Ed columns on everything from the economy to the Media Entertainment Industrial Complex. And as reality keeps heaping dumb-ass absurdity upon absurdity upon us, the movie continues to hit the jugular as much as pokes the funnybone. It may not have the pop-cultural currency of Beavis and Butt-head, the awards and accolades that King of the Hill earned, or the insta-quotability of Office Space (though say ‘Why you have no have tattoo?!?’ to a fan, and watch that person crack up). Idiocracy may, however, end up being the one work of Judge’s that seems to get better and funnier with age. No, it’s not a movie that was originally a comedy and then became a documentary quite yet. But just give it a generation or two.” –Rolling Stone
Playing as part of Autocratic for the People: an Unpresidented Series of Star-Spangled Satires
- Country USA
- Year 2006
- Running Time 84 minutes
- Director Mike Judge