Idiocracy (Judge, 2006)

Mike Judge is one of America’s sharpest and funniest filmmakers and he must hate Hollywood by now. The creator of such classic television shows as Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill (my personal fave) had trouble releasing his first feature Office Space and now been relegated to obscurity again with his latest Idiocracy. FOX dumped Idiocracy this past year, opening it for one week without any press then almost immediately punting it to DVD. It’s easy to see why they didn’t want the viewing public to see Judge’s incredibly pertinent sci-fi/comedy. Idiocracy‘s the funniest film of 2006 and it seers and severs every ounce of Bush/FOX’s macho/shoot first ask questions never ideal America. When you’re this right, the corporate suits will scatter into the cracks.Idiocracy follows Army Pvt. Joe Bowers (Luke Wilson), a completely average American who along with a prostitute named Rita (Maya Rudolph) are cryogenically frozen by U.S. government as part of a test program. When things go awry, Joe and Rita wake up five hundred years in the future to a world dominated by corporations, epic garbage piles, dead crops, and imbeciles. Judge’s theory, brilliantly shown in the opening sequence, states that smart people, obsessed with waiting for the right time to have a baby, won’t end up having any kids at all, while stupid folk will consummate over and over again, having baby’s at an alarming rate. The result, a world of hillbilly’s, gangsta rap culture, manipulation, and instinct overcomes logic and science. Even water has been substituted for gatorade. “You drink water, like from the toilet?” Joe, now being the smartest man on earth, finds himself in a bind. Help the morons survive or take a time machine back to 2005 living out his average life.Idiocracy rightfully lambasts this futuristic haven of stupidity, showing signs of the apocalypse we can recognize today. Fuddruckers, Starbucks, Carl’s Jr, have all morphed into combo franchises while the U.S. government is run by an unthinking, hedonistic gun-toting thug. The script, also written by Judge, is loose, allowing Joe and Rita to take in their new inhabitance with reasonable awe, watching this stunning display of garbage, sexual iconography, guns, mob mentality, ruins, secret (or not so) police. While Joe has been established as an average American, he easily sees the past in this disastrous future. Judge rallies around this idea with the help of a deadpan narrator and a multitude of hilarious gags, like the TV show “Ow, My Balls” which shows a man getting kicked in the testicles for a half hour, or the Best Picture Winner called ASS, which is “exactly that for ninety minutes.”Watching Idiocracy back to back with Little Miss Sunshine made it clear who and what stands for success in this country. A safe, broad, boring comedy like Little Miss Sunshine gets rewarded with Oscar consideration while Idiocracy, a truly original satire, gets swept under the rug and taken out to pasture. Judge’s film shows a commitment to dissecting the potential downfalls of this country. Idiocracy addresses the dismissive nature government and poular culture have adopted in recent years, not with drama, but though a comedic lens. With our intentions and goals sliding further toward a passive, isolationist and arrogant lifestyle, a world of stupidity seems secure. Even more striking, Judge offers the human race a chance at survival, more penance than FOX was willing to give Idiocracy. Shame on them.


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