the fresh films reviews

S I N C E   1 9 9 7


Idiocracy (2006)

Mike Judge
84 minutes
Mike Judge
Elysa Koplovitz
Mike Judge
Etan Cohen

Cast includes:

Joe Bauers Luke Wilson
Rita Maya Rudolph
Frito Dax Sheppard
President Camacho Terry Crews
CEO of Brawndo Thomas Haden Church



The hypothesis set forth in Mike Judge's social satire Idiocracy is one yours truly has been toying with for some time: That we have gradually removed ourselves so far from the principle of survival of the fittest, that humanity slowly will start to devolve instead of evolve. People with little or no education tend to reproduce at a much higher frequency than people with higher education. The result, claims Judge, is what we see in Idiocracy. Set in 2505, the film presents a society in long decline, where the level of IQ is at an all-time low, and where human values never exceed that of reproduction, defecation or violence.

Judge is clever in putting an average Joe at the centre of events in the future. Suddenly being the smartest guy in the world, he has to start thinking up ideas to slowly turn the tendency. Helping the people of the future to learn how to grow crops is task one. The first objective for Judge is to show the general devolution of mankind. The second, however, is to track a lot of it back to typical, American trash-culture. It's a biting satire, particularly since the film's target audience arguably are people rooted in, or at least heavily influenced by, this culture. In that respect, the film can be said to be somewhat elitist at times (e.g. through the lingo it presents). However, it never tries to elevate itself to neither an intellectual art-house film, nor a dark, pessimistic tale. The film is easygoing, which ultimately is both its strength and its weakness.

Approaching the end, Idiocracy encounters its main problem; biting its own tale. Because Judge unfortunately gives in to cheap moralistic lectures and mushy romance with absolutely no foundation whatsoever. That doesn't mean the film isn't both effective and funny - it is for large portions of its running time. Judge has numerous clever and relevant observations that are equally frightening and hilarious. And if you're willing to accept the film's weaknesses as a self-fulfilling double irony, you will have a helluva time.

Copyright 14.3.2007 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang