Despite a clever premise and a solid first fifteen minutes, Idiocracy suffers for the same reasons that people will hopefully grow out of loving moronic celebrities; stupid is only funny and endearing for so long.
Joe (Luke Wilson) is a dopey slacker soldier who consents to being frozen as an experiment. Only instead of being on ice for twelve months, he skips the alarm and slumbers for five full centuries, awakening to find an altogether different face of humanity.
Here’s the amusing bit. Rather than a continued development in technology, science and human development, the ever procreating, never planning bottom end of the gene pool have had their way, leading to a dumbing down of the population to the point that the incumbent President of the United States is President Cumacho, an ex-wrestler who flips the bird to one and all and wears suits that show off his impressive guns.
Joe might have been a bit of a dim bulb in the two thousands – and it takes a while for him to even grasp the enormity of the predicament – but he rapidly finds that he might be the smartest guy on the planet in the twenty-five hundreds, in a reality where it seems everyone is a prime candidate to be nominated for the Darwin Awards.
It’s amusing to see how the Honey Boo-Boo-ing of society might work if left unchecked, where lawyers call defendants ‘fags’ because they talk multi-syllable words, and advertisements blatantly deride and belittle people into buying their product. Big corporations rule everything, the common citizen stops wishing for anything more than More, and entertainment becomes… well not much different to now, with the number one TV show being ‘Ow my Balls’.
Of course when subtlety leaves town it isn’t long before indulgence, selfish enjoyment and sexual release move in. Whittling down the big words from the vocabulary inevitably leaves mostly four letter words, which is again amusing for a while, but once the film decides that crass equals funny it starts getting a bit old. By the time Joe finds himself sentenced to ‘death by monster truck’ I tuned out.
Luke Wilson finds himself as an IQ challenged genius in an unexpected future. Maya Rudolph does OK as his travelling partner – a hooker who for some reason was frozen in the same experiment, but for some reason she is nearly as dopey as the general population even accounting for five centuries gone backward. Elsewhere Dax Shepherd mines the hell out of the material, throwing every ounce of energy into squeezing out every dumb joke he can. It’s fair to say that he nails a fair percentage, as a lawyer from the future who ends up providing assistance to Joe.
Idiocracy is funny, but less and less so the longer it goes. It may make you feel slightly superior to look down upon all the moronic shenanigans as they play out, but if you start wondering if this a documentary then you might have cause for concern…
Final Rating – 6.5 / 10. You’ve only got to look at the state of reality TV now to wonder just how far away Ow my Balls! might really be…