n 2005, average in every way private Joe Bowers (Luke Wilson) who works as an Army librarian is selected to take part in a secret military experiment. They want to put him in hibernation for a year along with a black prostitute named Rita (Maya Rudolph). Both Joe and Rita don’t have any family to speak of so they are perfect subjects of an experiment which might fail and fail it will.
The slumbering duo is forgotten in their strange metal, coffin-like casings when the base they are stored on is closed down. Time is flowing and they are left in stasis until 2505. When they finally wake up, they discover the average intelligence of humans has decreased so much that Joe is now the smartest man in the world. Will he become the ruler supreme? Or maybe he will be murdered for fun?
I haven’t heard about that movie for quite a long time and small wonder: it was not screened for critics and its distributor, 20th Century Fox, was accused of abandoning it. Why ? In The New York Times, Dan Mitchell argued that Fox might have shied away from that cautionary tale about low-intelligence dysgenics, because the company did not want to offend either its viewers or potential advertisers portrayed negatively in the film.
No matter: as soon as I saw it mentioned on my friend’s blog (thanks Heidenkind/Tasha! What would I do without you?) I wanted to watch it. Why? Imagine a dystopian society which is devoid of intellectual curiosity, social responsibility, and coherent notions of justice and human rights. Even legitimate businesses like Starbucks and official TV news channels are peddling smut. The human population has become morbidly stupid, speak only low registers of English peppered with swear words, and are named after corporate products. A case in question: president of the United States, Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho, an ex pro wrestler and an ex porn star. Even their clothes more often than not feature brand names and company logos. Now imagine a ‘normal’ human being catapulted to that world just to see how his worst nightmares became true. Scary but also funny, don’t you think?
My personal reception after watching Idiocracy was mixed. While I adored many spot-on satirical moments and the cutting social critique I was less than impressed by too many loopholes in the plot. Then came the finale of the movie. It seemed not only saccharine-sweet but also strangely depressing for a light comedy. Basically the movie ended with the Americans being so lazy that they had to rely on a ‘superhero everyman’ from the past in order to grow crops, get fed and solve their mountains-of-rubbish problems. I wish the director made it more difficult for them. I think Joe should have returned to his reality and tried to prevent the worst while he still could…
An interesting sci-fi comedy I enjoyed watching even if I had some issues afterwards. I recommend it, especially as it can be rented. If you aren’t persuaded by the trailer, go and read about 10 things ‘Idiocracy’ predicted would happen and sadly already have.