Reviewed on 2006 September 5
I think it says a lot about our culture that Beerfest is playing almost everywhere, with much advertising prodding us to see it. I only heard about Idiocracy when my husband turned to me and said “Wow! It’s playing here! ” He convinced me to see it.
I married a good man.
I knew nothing about it except that it was a Mike Judge work about a man who wakes up five hundred years into a future inhabited by…idiots. There’s a hilarious opening sequence explaining with some frightening plausibility how this happened, but our hero Joe Bowers (Luke Wilson) misses the decline of things. Poor soul, he’s part of a failed experiment. He comes from hypothermia and sees garbage mountains, broken freeways, and skyscrapers literally held together with string. Medical care is beyond salvation, crops are non-existent, and inflation is out of control. Advertising and fast food are the most revered things in this society.
Joe has to figure all this out and find Rita (Maya Rudolph), the woman who went through the experiment with him. Their pods were separated before they came to, and Joe keeps unknowingly breaking laws as he goes to search for her. The problem is everything changed (except reality T.V.) and Joe can't get any help from the people of the future. After five hundred years of educational decay and other problems he’s the smartest one of the lot. By a long shot.
The situation is horrible, but Judge makes it very funny, and gets an incredible amount of mileage out of what is kind of a one-joke movie. It works on many levels. The premise is brilliant and there are some pop-coming-out-your-nose jokes, like what people watch on TV and in theaters in 2505. Judge also takes some nice swipes at consumer culture without being preachy. The cast is wonderful too. Wilson is a great everyman and Rudolph is very funny as the street-smart woman who’s as befuddled as he is by all this, but lands on her feet more quickly.
It’s also somewhat creepy. When you watch the “Rehabilitation” scenes ask yourself if you can’t see similar stuff on cable now.
Idiocracy was smart enough to earn three chocolate morsels.