An American Carol (2008)
Reviewed on 2008 October 11
I wanted to start this review by explaining something: I liked a couple of Michael Moore’s movies and I still think Roger and Me is great, but he irritated me to no end with his remarks about Hurricane Gustav being a gift to the Democrats from The Almighty. (I’m not partisan, I just can’t abide some idiot being gleeful about anything as dangerous as a tropical storm.) I also thought Sicko was well-made but presented a glowing picture of socialized medicine without any of its cons. I’ll happily admit I went into this with something of an axe to grind. There are worse ways to spend a Friday afternoon than eating fresh popcorn and watching Moore get skewered. The protagonist in Carol is named Michael Malone, but we know who it is.
Malone (Kevin P. Farley) is a film maker who creates his “masterpieces” by rolling film and beating on America like a piñata. Carried away with his success, he decides to abolish the Fourth of July. He reasons that the birth of an imperialistic nation is nothing to celebrate, and gets a group of college protestors to agree with him. He’s visited by by his nephew, who wants him to come to a July 4th cookout at his house before the Navy ships him out, but Uncle Michael is too committed to do that.
Late at night, while Malone is watching footage of John F. Kennedy on a giant TV that I can only dream of, JFK (Chriss Anglin) steps out from the plasma screen to slap him around. Jack explains that Malone forgot what the United States is all about and he’ll be schooled by three spirits. The first two are George Patton (Kelsey Grammer) and George Washington (Jon Voight). If you’ve seen any one of the twenty billion adaptations of A Christmas Carol, you can guess the third visitor.
Kelsey Grammer was the most entertaining thing in the whole flick, as a grumpy but sincere Patton, and the spouse and I both laughed at the “Rosie O’Connell” sequence. Most of the time this movie was too cartoony to be effective but I think it kept it from being too nasty. Ironically, Mr. Shukti enjoyed it more than I did, and he’s more of a liberal than I am. But we both love our nation, and goofy as it was, it was nice to see something positive in the theaters.
Two chocolate morsels.