I first read about this film about a month ago -- fittingly for the movie, I've forgotten where, but it was in some blog somewhere. Long story short: It's by Mike Judge of BEAVIS & BUTTHEAD fame, his first feature since the modern classic OFFICE SPACE . The studio has buried IDIOCRACY, releasing it in only a few cities -- not even in New York. So when my wife & I had reason to spend a few days in Austin, we decided we had to see it. As she said: "Dude made OFFICE SPACE." Case closed!
IDIOCRACY is a weird piece of work. The plot: Five hundred years from now, people have all gotten incredibly stupid because all the stupid people had lots of kids, while the smart people didn't. (SF fans will recognize this as, er, heavily inspired by C.M. Kornbluth's novella "The Marching Morons." ) Luke Wilson plays an ordinary guy who's put in suspended animation and wakes up to find that, by default, he's the smartest guy in the world.
Considering how farcical the movie is -- the most popular TV show of the time is called "Ow My Balls," for instance, and nearly every scene is a gag -- it's remarkably involving. A lot of the jokes are, uh, pretty stupid, but that's kind of the point. Luke Wilson's experiences with the idiots of the future is excruciating -- I really felt like I'd endured something by the end. It's also the kind of movie that will get funnier and funnier the more times you saw it, just like OFFICE SPACE. Even now, I'm laughing as I remember scenes that seemed kind of stupid in the theatre. And there's a closing "inspirational" speech that really works, in the way, say, TEAM AMERICA's fell flat.
So why is Fox burying this thing? I don't buy that it's too close a satire of our current administration -- IDIOCRACY is far too out-there for that. This article includes speculation that there's too much bathroom humor in it, but really it's pretty tame in that area. My guess is that Fox is afraid of the satirical "product placement" all through IDIOCRACY. In this future, Fuddrucker's restaurant has gone through several evolutions to become Buttfucker's, and Starbucks is a place where you get hand jobs. And not in a cute We-All-Love-Starbucks-Don't-We? way. It's just a nasty place where you get dirty hand jobs with your latte.
Of course, it's also the kind of movie you could see and walk out bewildered, thinking "That's not funny." But really, it is. If you get a chance, switch off "Ow My Balls" and give it a shot.