Mike Judge fans prepare to breathe a deep sigh of relief -- Idiocracy isn't anywhere near the Run Ronnie Run-level disaster that many likely suspected when 20th Century Fox unceremoniously dumped it into a handful of theaters in the cinematic winter wasteland of 2006. Those looking for a sharp jab of Judge-style satire are sure to stay amused as the keen social critic behind Office Space and King of the Hill targets everything from television and film to fast food, politics, medical care, consumerism, and perhaps most pointedly, the dialectical speech patterns of a future generation reared on such moronic hit television programs as "Ow! My Balls!" Of course, this isn't to say that Idiocracy is bulletproof when it comes to criticism -- the narration is somewhat clunky and the at-times awkward editing reeks of post-production tampering among other minor issues -- just that those who are tuned in to Judge's playfully profane sense of satire (the Starbucks of the future offers "full release" lattes) aren't likely to stop chuckling long enough to check their watches during the film's brisk 84 minutes. While certain setups don't necessarily pay off as well as one might expect given Judge's impressive track record, the steady stream of jokes and visual gags fly frequently enough to at the very least merit a second viewing on a rainy day. As for the performances, leads Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph respectably hold their own as the dimwitted military man and incredulous prostitute who make their way through a future that has collapsed due to its own stupidity, while supporting performances by Dax Shepard as Costco-educated lawyer Frito and Terry Alan Crews as President Camacho (a spandex-clad bird-flipper whose Chief Executive qualifications include being a professional wrestler/porno star) nearly steal the show. To suspect that 20th Century Fox's shameful treatment of the film is due more to fear of offending the numerous highly profitable franchises which Judge targets with merciless abandon than the failure of the film as a whole may not be too far off considering the glee with which the writer/director cuts down a virtual cornucopia of corporate monoliths, and while it's impossible to tell whether Idiocracy will worm its way into the public conscience as effectively as Office Space -- an unlikely prospect given that general audiences simply don't have the reference points to relate to sci-fi humor as closely as they can cubicle-farm humor -- chances are that they'll still find plenty to laugh about.
by Jason Buchanan review