The original "Manchurian Candidate" is still among our most subversive satires: that a Joseph McCarthy-like Communist witch-hunter could be a Communist plant is ridiculous, but there's a kernel of truth. It's not the bumbling that drives opponents crazy; it's the well-honed insidiousness. Handsome Guy?) It's possible to make a political black comedy that mixes blood with slapstick - both "Strangelove" and "The Manchurian Candidate" did it - but to pull it off you need a comic vision and not just a joke book. Violence: 3 scenes. "American Dreamz" has funny bits, parodies of "American Idol" singers and their cornball air-sculpting (although how can you top the original?). or call us at 1-617-450-2300. subscription yet. He sits around all day in his pajamas until his chief of staff (a baldpated Willem Dafoe, looking like Dick Cheney) comes up with the brainstorm of booking Staton as a guest judge on the president's favorite TV show - you guessed it, "American Dreamz.". How 'Major Kong' flew back into the political lexicon, Tina Fey and Paul Rudd star in 'Admission', One month free trial to the Monitor Daily. This message will appear once per week A dreamz come true for anyone who reads The Onion or watches the Biting, incisive, and honest satire of America, Americans, and...terrorists. Here's a confluence of politics and showbiz only hinted at in "American Dreamz.". Strangelove." Mandy Moore co-stars as a Britney Spears/Kelly Clarkson amalgam whose down-home persona masks an abundance of guile and ruthless ambition. Alas, "American Dreamz" is not that film. Characters are developed with more layers than expected, like Hugh Grant's vaguely self-loathing judge/host/all-around smoothie, but not with enough depth that they transcend caricature altogether. But he also works in a pair of competing "American Dreamz" hopefuls, the gimlet-eyed Midwestern crooner Sally Kendoo (Mandy Moore) and Omer (Sam Galzari), an Arab terrorist recruit with a taste for show tunes. He has expanded his oeuvre with critically acclaimed turns as a cad in Bridget Jones's Diary (2001), About a Boy (2002), Love Actually (2003), and American Dreamz (2006). Genres: Satire, Comedy. Great satires draw blood. It leaves us more complacent. The smartest satire of recent decades is "Wag the Dog," with Robert DeNiro as an amoral political consultant and Dustin Hoffman as the sleaze ball Hollywood producer he hires to cover up a presidential scandal with a bogus military conflict. But by and large, there isn't a rich tradition of political satire in American movies. Not even close. logged you out. Weitz's featherweight fantasia on national themes casts Quaid as a depressed President who gets booked on an American Idol-like singing contest in an attempt to improve his image and counter rumors of a nervous breakdown. contact customer service What he doesn't fully comprehend is that the techniques of political discourse are now virtually indistinguishable from the way that the Hollywood public-relations ma-chine works. Hugh Grant's Simon Cowell figure delivers insults with aplomb. In many instances it is hard to realize that this movie was made by Hollywood studious since this film mocks just about everything about American culture. It’s attached at the hip with our current reality and will no doubt quickly fade into cinematic oblivion. Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed. It was hard to be naïve after the A-bomb taught us we could be instantly vaporized. American Dreamz is not a smart satire, it's satire-lite. It's science fiction. Quaid's President is a kindhearted though dim-witted man-child far more prone to humility, introspection, and anguished soul-searching than his real-life counterpart seems. American Dreamz. "American Dreamz" is a bad-taste satire of politics, reality TV and Islamic terrorism that begs the question: how can satirists compete with what's happening in the real world? Profanity: 3 strong instances, 29 milder. Weitz has written and directed the well-received romantic comedy In Good Company and the political satire American Dreamz, which faced mixed reviews. The new movie has a good premise. But American Dreamz is diverting without being particularly compelling, and amusing without being terribly funny. If he had kept the film focused on Tweed and the president, he might have scored a few lampoonish moments. If so, he doesn't go nearly far enough. Writer-director Paul Weitz even suggests that if he could only free himself from the meddling influence of sinister Iagos like Willem Dafoe (playing a thinly fictionalized version of Karl Rove), he'd be an even more engaged, compassionate leader. AMERICAN DREAMZ (Paul Weitz, 2006) An amateur singing competition is the biggest show on television, and the newly reelected President of the United States abstains from reading newspapers. Hugh Grant plays the appropriately named Martin Tweed, the unctuous British host of the "American Idol"-ish smash, "American Dreamz." But how the president gets there, talk about naïve. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: 6 scenes with drinking. Is Weitz saying that all the world's a sound stage, that politics and show business have become indistinguishable? ‘Jojo Rabbit’ and the state of satire. American Dreamz is billed as a satire, but it's the curious kind of satire that makes its ostensible target seem deeper and more impressive than he actually is. Judging from his unexpectedly flattering performance as a Dubya doppelgänger in American Dreamz, Dennis Quaid can expect a Christmas card from the White House this year, if not a Pepperidge Farm gift bag and possibly even his own affectionate nickname from the President. Writer-director Paul Weitz ("American Pie," "About a Boy") is by no means without talent, but his reach far exceeds his grasp here. For all its supposed outrageousness, "American Dreamz" has a soft center. The whammo hard-sell, the feel-good photo-ops, the co-option of the press for favorable coverage - it all bears the heavy imprint of the marketeer mentality. Alas, "American Dreamz" is not that film. Sex/Nudity: 6 scenes of innuendo or implied sex. It's because they make us laugh that satires can get away with showing us the bleakest stuff imaginable. Weitz has a winning way with a one-liner, and he's recruited a stellar cast that gets the most out of his material.
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