American Dreamz (6/10)
by Tony Medley
Thereís nothing wrong with
satire. Just because a Hollywood movie comes out making fun of George
Bush and Dick Cheney doesnít mean that George Clooney and Michael Moore
are running rampant again, disregarding the truth. It just means that
these two are powerful men who, as a result of their power, are fodder
Gilbert & Sullivan wrote
wonderful operettas in the late 19th century and all were
satirical. That didnít make them bad or reprehensible. It made them
And thatís what American
Dreamz is, funny. Even though I found it uneven and slow in parts, the
last half hour is pretty good, and it doesnít limit its mocking to the
President and Vice President. It includes rabid, maniacal Islamic
Jihadists and Simon Cowell among its victims. I donítí mean to imply
that Simon Cowell is rabid or maniacal by that sentence, but I donít
discard the idea, either.
But he is over the top and
thatís exactly where Martin Tweed (Hugh Grant) is located. With a
self-loving ego that has made him the number one celebrity in America he
hosts an ďAmerican IdolĒ type show that is the top rated show. He has
invited President Staton (Dennis Quaid) to host the showís finale,
pitting Sally Kendo (Mandy Moore) and William Williams (Chris Klein), an
unlikely Islamic Jihadist who loves Broadway tunes, against one another.
Problem is that Williamsí compatriots want him to wear a belt bomb and
blow up President Staton.
Willem Dafoe is the vice
president and he is clearly playing Dick Cheney. Everything has been
done to make him look like Cheney, even matching the veepís balding
head. Dafoe is piped in to President Staton electronically, and feeds
him his lines, like Edgar Bergin did for Charlie McCarthy.
Dennis Quaid is well cast as
the bumbling, handsome president. Dennis is at his best playing light
comedy. He should stick with it.
Mandy Moore proves she really
is an actress. In her best outing, ďChasing LibertyĒ (2004), she was the
Presidentís sweet daughter looking for romance. Here sheís even cheaper
and shallower than Britney Spears.
The story is irrelevant. This
is Grantís movie and he makes the most of it. Williams also gives an
intriguingly funny performance as the not-a-serious-jihadist Klein.
As are most satires, this is
silly and humorous with good performances. I squirmed quite a bit during
the first hour, but Grantís performance is probably worth the price of
April 19, 2006