Idiocracy

Idiocracy (2006). 84 minutes, 20th Century Fox. Directed by Mike Judge.

This is the smartest dumb comedy I have seen in ages.

When I wasn’t laughing, I was at least smiling real wide. I’d say this movie was brilliant if not for the fact that an awful lot of it is basically jokes about handjobs and blowing shit up… which, of course, is the whole point.

From the mind of Mike Judge – who brought us Beavis and Butthead, King of the Hill, and Office Space – this movie is basically a lowbrow comedy take on Cyril M. Kornbluth’s classic short story “The Marching Morons“. Thanks to the nonstop reproduction of the dumbest people on earth – while the smart people wait until later to have children, or don’t have children at all – each successive generation becomes less intelligent than the previous one. And so, in the distant future, the population has become so stupid that people don’t even know what you’re supposed to put on crops to make them grow.

The protagonist here is a completely average Joe named… Joe (Luke Wilson). As a subject in an Army experiment, Joe is placed into suspended animation for a “one year test”. His fellow subject is civilian female Rita (Maya Rudolph), who is partaking in the experiment in order to get away from her pimp for the one-year duration of the experiment. But, in a humorous twist of events, the experiment is forgotten, and Joe and Rita pass away the centuries in their suspension cocoons…

…until the Great Garbage Avalanche of 2505 drops their hibernation coffins back into the world, engaging the “unthaw” process automatically. After a series of discoveries, including a revealing tour through the penitentiary system of 26th century America, Joe (the most average man alive in our time) is revealed to be the smartest man in the world after taking an IQ test. (sample question: “If you have one bucket that holds two gallons, and another bucket that holds five gallons – how many buckets do you have?”)

Joe and Rita, having been told there is a time machine that can return them to their past, spend most of the film trying to find it. In the course of events, Joe solves the country’s food shortage (he tells them to stop irrigating plants with Gatorade and use water instead) and ends up bringing new life to the… idiocracy… of the future.

The brilliance of this movie is almost entirely in the set gags and jokes. Imagine a future populated only by the dumbest of the dumb, and that’s what Idiocracy depicts. “Fuddrucker’s” has become “Buttfucker’s”. The most popular show on television is called “Ow! My Balls!” and consists of a single character getting kicked in the nuts over and over. The President of the United States is the world wrestling champ, and also a porn star. Cabinet posts are filled by lottery. Congress is now the “House of Representin'”, and the President keeps order by blowing up things on stage.

A lot of the humor also comes from the fact that Joe and Rita are so much smarter than everyone else around them. Rita gets money from a horny guy by promising she’ll have sex with him “in a few days”, and that she charges by the hour – so the guy starts paying her immediately. Joe’s sidekick is an attorney, Frito (Dax Shepard), who got his law license from Costco. He’s dumber than a bag of rocks – and yet in this future, he’s considered pretty bright.

This is one of those movies that just doesn’t come across very well in the written word. You really have to see it to get the joke. Trust me, this is one very funny film. See it, laugh your ass off, and then pray to whatever God you believe in that the world never ends up like Idiocracy.

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