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.