Private Joe Bauers, a decisively average American, is selected as a guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program but is forgotten, awakening to a future so incredibly moronic he's easily the most intelligent person alive.
Officer Collins has been spearheading one of the US Army's most secretive experiments to date: the Human Hibernation Project. If successful, the project would store its subjects indefinitely until they are needed most. Their first test subject - Joe Bauers - was not chosen for his superiority. Instead, he's chosen because he's the most average guy in the armed services. But scandal erupts after the experiment takes place - the base is closed, and the president denies any knowledge of the project - Unfortunately, Joe doesn't wake up in a year, he wakes up in 500 years. But during that time human evolution has taken a dramatic downturn. After waking up, Joe takes a prison-assigned IQ test and finds that he's the smartest guy alive. Awaiting a full presidential pardon if he can solve one of the country's biggest problems - the dwindling plant population, Joe races against time to solve this problem. But he alienates half the country in the process. Can he make things right and escape a ...Written by
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It's amazing how many people miss the point... oh wait. No it isn't.
You can read all kinds of references into the world of Idiocracy. A futuristic world populated by pampered, self-indulgent morons spoon-fed by the technology of a bygone era: this idea has its precedent in H.G. Wells' "The Time Machine" and Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" amongst other satires.
Early in the film, a narrator explains the quick degradation of humanity over five hundred years, but does not fill in the gaps of where all the futuristic technology came from in the meanwhile. Most of the criticism of this very fun (and funny) film seems to surround this omission, and the resulting complaint that the world isn't "realistic". As if "realism" has ever been a necessary quality of satire. Is "Brazil" realistic? How about "Futurama" or "Transmetropolitan"? Hell, how about "Gulliver's Travels"? I thought not. "Idiocracy", while maybe not as pointed as the best of the genre, hits the same notes and generally does so successfully.
Besides, I didn't find the futuristic technology to be a problem. It is pretty easy to figure out that Mike Judge is satirizing the current trend toward automation and simple product interfaces, so that even total idiots can use them. As in "Brave New World", the society in the film seems to have reached a point of automated self-sufficiency at some point in the past (apparently created by the now-extinct 'smart people' in order to placate an increasingly stupid populace), leaving the remainder of humanity free to indulge all the worst, most selfish impulses they can come up with, and grow even stupider. The film just happens to take place during the last gasp of humanity, as everything begins to fall apart for good. It may still be "unrealistic", but if so, it's a remarkably well-presented brand of unrealism.
The stupid people take up most of the screen time, of course, but they're just the victims -- they don't know any better. Mike Judge saves his real hate for the intelligent people in power who are dead by the time the film begins, but who are very much alive right now, in the 21st century. People like scientists who chase "hair growth and prolonged erections" for no other reason than the possibility that they'll turn a profit on their snake-oil treatments. People like politicians who let corporations simply purchase the FDA and FCC. People like media executives and their yuppie stooges who promote stupidity -- who enable the destruction of all culture, morality and health to make a quick buck.
After all, who is really to blame, the Morlocks or the Eloi? The Paris Hiltons of the world, or the brilliant executives and advertisers that put her on TV and lowered our cultural standards enough to leave her there? This is all implicit in "Idiocracy", though. A line here, a hint there (witness the hilarious auto-doctor which literally does all the work in the health care system). It's one of the few aspects of the movie that's NOT pounded into the ground by the unnecessary narrator. It's just there for the viewer to pick up, or not, but it is one of the most interesting themes in a movie that's much smarter than any other comedy of the year.
Pity that so many people will leave the film thinking it's just an excuse to show rear ends farting and people being hit in the groin. Not that that stuff isn't funny too, and maybe it IS a little pandering. But in "Idiocracy", it's just not as simple as it seems.
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