PFF 2006 - American Dreamz

I'll admit it, we saw American Dreamz Saturday night because of our addiction to American Idol. We know it's a guilty pleasure, so we're comfortable watching it while also checking out this film that satires the whole concept. Pop idol contests are but one half of this film, along with a plot line about a goofball president the puppet of his staff.

The film was good, but missed its potential. It never went over the top into parody-land and got really funny, and it never really took a chunk out of someone with a well-done bit of biting satire. It just sort of meandered along on a decent, somewhat novel premise.

Hugh Grant, Mandy Moore, Willem Dafoe, Marcia Gay Harden, they were all passable, not outstanding. Dennis Quaid was a cut above as the pres, if only because the character arc gives him some redemption as he transcends his buffoonery to some semblance of reality, while seemingly everyone else in the film sells out and shows their despicable sides.

Perhaps the funniest parts of the film were the depictions of the terrorist training camp that produces one of the pop idol contestants, and the sleeper cell that contacts him when he arrives in the US. It's five years after 9/11 and perhaps it's time someone went there, not that it is explored for anything more than its comedic potential. Yet, for this and the reasons above, I doubt the film will make a splash beyond its $19M budget.


Brock said...

"It's five years after 9/11 and perhaps it's time someone went there, not that it is explored for anything more than its comedic potential."

Oh, we're going there!

Joshua Provost said...

Oh, no doubt, you are going there. In a big way. I'm looking forward to it... and dreading it. :-\

Brock said...

I hope that the humor/issues don’t become something that give you stomach cramps, because that first scene is really about as intense as it gets with regard to that. If anyone finds the rest of the film offensive, it will be film students.

With regards to THIS movie, I am deeply interested in it. Yet, to be honest; I don’t watch American Idol…in fact, one of the few times I’ve seen it has been in the company of you and Angie. However, I am interested in the film’s director, Paul Weitz.
Weitz as you will recall, directed In Good Company, a mediocre comedy, which tackled the shaky world of modern business in lieu of premature adulthood. Much of the good that could be attributed to that film was due to the satirical commentary of Topher Grace’s character and the idealized, Franklin Covey image of business that he ascribed to. Weitz’s films have never been particularly strong. In fact, your assessment could be applied to his career as a whole: I always get the sense that he’s pulling some of his punches. Nevertheless, I must admit that his ironic, less-then-ideal depiction of idiosyncratic cultures has been a major influence on my depiction of film school in Filmic.
I’ll be seeing this one for sure, if only to get a better idea of what waters I’m heading in to.