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Idiocracy

Mike Judge fans expecting another Office Space (1999) are likely to be bemused — and somewhat disappointed — by Idiocracy (2006), a high-concept comedy about a future in which evolution has produced an entire population of fast food-gorging, monster truck-loving morons who can't complete a sentence, much less run a country or feed a nation. Luke Wilson stars as Joe, a supremely average, unambitious military grunt who's picked to participate in a top-secret hibernation experiment in 2005. He and his fellow test subject, feisty prostitute Rita (Maya Rudolph), are only supposed to be frozen for a year. But things go awry, and they end up sleeping for half a millennium instead, waking up in 2505 to a world that's covered in garbage and populated by the progeny of the kind of folks who tend to show up on "COPS." Ads and corporate logos are plastered on every flat surface (and embedded in citizens' most basic thought patterns), the highest-rated show on television is called "Ow, My Balls!," and the president (Terry Crews) is an extreme-fighting champ who loves flipping his constituents the bird. All of a sudden, Joe (and, to a lesser extent, Rita) doesn't seem quite so average anymore; when an IQ test reveals that he's now literally the smartest person in the world, he's tapped to solve problems with global implications (like the fact that all of the crops have died and there's nothing to eat). Will Joe step up to the challenge, or will he flee to find the time machine that his new friend Frito (Dax Shepard) has promised to take him to? Even at 84 minutes, Idiocracy takes way too long to answer that question, which is one of its main problems. It's a pointed — if cynical and somewhat bitter — commentary on the state of society, but the story is thin and meandering at best, with too many jokes being repeated and too little for any of the main characters to do. At least it's more entertaining than an episode of "Ow, My Balls!" ... Fox brings the film (which had a tiny, blink-and-you'll-miss-it theatrical release) to DVD in a good anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (Spanish 2.0 Surround and English, Spanish, and French subtitles are also available). If you can manage to navigate your way through the blaring, chaotic main menu screen (designed intentionally to resemble the movie's hyper-stimulated TV of the future), you'll unearth the disc's lone extra: a three-minute collection of mercifully deleted scenes. Keep-case.
—Betsy Bozdech



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