Saturday, April 08, 2006

American Dreamz

Got back from a preview screening of this movie at the Philadelphia film festival. It wasn't bad and had its amusing bits but didn't end up being all that great. Premise: Dennis Quaid plays a somewhat familiar president who on the morning after his re-election decides to, for the first time since his presidency, start reading newspapers. That sends him into a funk and he isolates himself in his room for weeks, as his approval ratings plummet and rumors that he went bonkers are floated in the press. To shore up his ratings, the funny Cheney/Rove/Rumsfeld hybrid played by Willem Dafoe decides to book him as a celebrity judge on the hit show American Idol Dreamz, hosted by Hugh Grant doing a decent Simon Cowell rip. Oh, and throw in a potential plot to assassinate the president by the show's Middle Eastern contestant.

It's probably the kind of movie that seemed edgy and controversial when they planned it, and I'm actually kind of glad that it no longer seems that edgy and controversial, but ultimately the problem is that it isn't edgy enough. It just never really has the courage to make a point. It's a bit of a satire of American Idol, a bit of a political satire, but isn't strong enough on either front for the movie to be satisfying.

Good for a few laughs, and it's nice that we can laugh at these things, but not much more than that.