The new season of "American Dreamz," the wildly popular television singing contest, has captured the country's attention, as the competition looks to be between a young Midwestern gal (Moore) and a showtunes-loving young man from Orange County (Golzari). Recently awakened President Staton (Quaid) even wants in on the craze, as he signs up for the potential explosive season finale.
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Martin Tweed is the host of a talent show called American Dreamz, and whilst he despises each new season, it's a hit with the ratings. Tweed decides it's time for a new and interesting batch of contestants, and sends out his team to find the weirdest bunch possible. Whilst all this is happening, the President of the United States is becoming more and more depressed, and relies on his Chief of Staff to talk him through everything, even into appearing as a judge on the TV show. Perfect news for the terrorists who use the talent contest as a way to reach the President.Written by
When Sally and Omer are talking in the club, there is jazz piano music playing and a man sitting at the piano. He is moving his hands on the piano but it clearly does not correspond to the music. See more »
Imagine a terrorist getting to the final round of an American Idol-type show so that he can bump off one of the judges - the President of the United States. Paul Weitz has a great and creative imagination to think up the plot of "American Dreamz," a 2006 comedy that he wrote and directed.
The premise is that the President of the U.S. (Dennis Quaid) is the puppet of his chief adviser (Willem Dafoe) and has to have an earpiece so he knows what to say. At the beginning of the film, he's reading newspapers and discovering that things in the world aren't quite as they've been described to him. So absorbed is he in this new knowledge, that he won't leave the residence, and rumors surface that he's had a nervous breakdown or is ill. So his Chief of Staff mounts a massive publicity campaign, and one of the things he does is arrange for the President to judge the "American Dreamz" talent contest. Hugh Grant is the Simon Cowell character who also hosts the show. He wants a Jew and an Arab to compete, plus someone really yummy (Mandy Moore).
An idiot terrorist, Iqbal Riza (Tony Yalda) is sent to the U.S. to get him out of the way, and he lives with his cousins. His goal in life is to be on American Dreamz. However, the day the Dreamz committee arrives in response to his tape, his terrorist cousin Omer (Sam Golzali) is in his stage/basement setup doing a song from Guys and Dolls. He's scooped up for American Dreamz, which makes Iqbal a) furious and b) his choreographer. The terrorist bosses devise a bomb that Omer will retrieve in the mens room to kill himself and the President - but he has to get to the final round.
This comedy is truly outrageous. I just wish we could have seen a few more numbers from Omer and his cousin - for me, the competition just made the movie. In my opinion also, it would have been funnier if the Mandy Moore character of Sally Kendoo had been below par - she actually was pretty good. When Omer went into "The Impossible Dream" and one of the terrorists criticizes the choice of song to his fellow cell members, it was hilarious.
It is incredibly nervy to show terrorists assembling pieces of a bomb for Omer to put together and juxtapose it with a mindless competition - nervy because it's the old Hitchcock terror in normal places idea that is scary indeed.
After all Omer has been told about the evils in America, it must seem like a pretty silly place to him - but tempting - and he goes after the American Dream on American Dreamz. Sally Kendoo, looking for all the world like an innocent hometown girl, is anything but, as ruthless as they come, even taking advantage of an Iraqui vet she doesn't love to pull in audience votes. Grant is appropriately sleazy as Martin Tweed, Quaid good as an out of it President just finding his own voice, and Marcia Gay Harden has a small but colorful role as the First Lady.
Most of the characters are sketchy and not likable - except for Omer and his cousin, who are a riot. If only real young terrorists were the way these two are depicted.
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