Friday, November 25, 2016

Idiocracy (2006)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

An IQ of 100 just doesn’t seem to go as far as it used to. I don’t know what it is, but I seem to live in a society dominated by idiots in a figurative sense. Private Joe Bauers finds himself surrounded by idiots in a literal sense. That’s the concept of Idiocracy. The Army wants to do an experiment where they freeze two average people for a year to see what happens.

They take Pvt. Bauers and a prostitute named Rita, both people who have no living family and not to many friends, and cryogenically freeze them. The intent is to wake them up in a year and see how it’s affected them. However, the person in charge of the project is arrested and the base is shut down. (For some reason, no one notices two cryogenics units while the base is being dismantled.)

Fast forward 500 years and we have a world covered in trash and populated by idiots. You see, humans have no competition and, as Darwin once said, evolution doesn’t mean progress. Without any real challenges, humanity has degraded into the dumbest of the dumb. Joe and Rita wake up finding a planet totally different from the one that they left.

It takes Joe a little while to figure out what happened. No one around knows about him or the project or where Rita is. When he sees a newspaper, he thinks it’s a mistake, but it eventually dawns on him that he’s been asleep longer than intended. To make matters worse, he’s arrested and subsequently identified as the smartest person on the planet. His one chance for a pardon is to help save the planet from its problems.

The humor in the movie seems to be targeted towards the high-school and college demographic. (The movie is made by Mike Judge of Beavis and Butt-head fame.) To give you an example, the big show of the far future is called, "Oww! My balls!" It involves a man taking a beating to the aforementioned part of his anatomy. There are also a lot of gags, such as police finding Joe and asking if he’s the unfit mother that a computer had just identified.

The people of Idocracy’s future are extremely dumb. A Gatorade-style sports drink has replaced water in every way except for use in toilets. This results in a famine. The company that makes the drink has taken over several aspects of the government, allowing them to claim whatever they want. They say that plants crave electrolytes, which a normal person of today would see as a lie. Joe has a hard time convincing people otherwise.

The setup is pretty funny. The movie starts to get a little repetitive once Joe and Rita find themselves in the future. Many parts of the movie are funny, but others aren’t. As I said, there are a lot of gags related to how society has gotten worse and that plays out rather quickly. Also, as with many comedies, certain things aren’t explained. For instance, how did the cryogenic units stay powered for 500 years? There are a lot of machines in use, but someone has to build and maintain them. How is this done in a society of idiots?

The movie gets three stars. It‘s worth watching once, but I don’t see a lot of replay value with this movie. The thing I’m left to wonder is how much of it has already come true.

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