2006 was the year in which one branch of Fox essentially refused to release Mike Judge's dark satire Idiocracy to theaters, while another arm of Fox was giving the full-court publicity press (until public backlash whiplashed all the way into visceral disgust) to OJ Simpson's If I Did It...
You've almost certainly heard of Mike Judge, the brilliant auteur behind Beavis and Butthead, Office Space, and King of the Hill, among others.
Unless you're a film geek, though, you may have never even heard of Idiocracy; Fox showed it in about 100 theaters nationwide, basically to fulfill their obligation for a "theatrical release" before putting it out on DVD.
Well, we just got our hands on one of those DVDs, and this is one funny movie.
Heavy-handed, harsh, and very, very funny.
Reihan Salam's review in Slate explains things nicely:
If Office Space is about taking responsibility for your own happiness, Idiocracy is about something larger, namely our responsibility for our shared future. Like all the best dystopian fables, Idiocracy is a scathing indictment of our own society. And so it begins in the present with a brief portrait of the villains who are destroying America, represented here by an affluent couple and an imbecile ne'er-do-well named Clevon. The two yuppies are shown agonizing over the decision to have a child. It's never the right time, until the right time finally comes—and the couple is infertile. The yuppies will leave no legacy behind. Clevon, in contrast, lustily and enthusiastically impregnates not only his wife but a bevy of gap-toothed harridans, each one dumber and uglier than the next. The screen slowly fills with his spawn, foreshadowing the nightmarish future to come.
What follows is a series of events, including an all-too-brief discussion of the distinction between a pimp's love and the love of a square, that send hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold Rita (Maya Rudolph) and the extremely average Army Pvt. Joe Bowers (Luke Wilson) into separate hibernation chambers for a supersecret military experiment. Like so many of us, Bowers has spent his life avoiding responsibility. Whenever his commanding officer tells him to "lead, follow, or get out of the way," he invariably chooses to "get out of the way." So, when he is tapped for this dubious honor, he's none too pleased.
Fully expecting to wake up after a year, Joe instead emerges from his icy casket in the year 2505, a nightmarish future populated exclusively by Clevon-like simpletons. The last geniuses died perfecting advanced methods for regrowing hair and sustaining erections, beautifully illustrated by a quick cutaway shot of a lab monkey with what looks to be a Jheri curl, a lit stogie, and a gigantic boner. As a result, the machines that have kept the masses of morons happy and fed are falling apart. Starvation looms as crops die across the land, all because Americans, or rather Uh-mericans, are too stupid to water them with anything besides a colorful sports drink rich in electrolytes.
We laughed, we winced, we're recommending it to everyone we know.
Buy it or rent it today.