Science fiction and fantasy                                            


directed by Mike Judge

Idiocracy poster  
The concept behind Idiocracy is simple: smart people are having fewer kids, so eventually idiots will rule the world. Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson) is an average man who works for the military as a librarian. He's happy doing very little, hiding behind a desk and seeing no action, but the army has other plans. Joe and a prostitute called Rita (Maya Rudolph) are chosen for a top-secret project to freeze them in suspended animation for a year.

However after they go into hibernation their project gets forgotten about, and one year becomes 500. Joe wakes to a world in which evolution seems to have gone into reverse, an unhygienic trash heap populated by slow-witted people who buy into any corporate line, no matter how absurd.

Mike Judge isn't subtle in making his points. The creator of Beavis and Butt-head has made something very similar with this movie. It's full of toilet humour, which the citizens of future America seem to regard as the highest form of culture, and useless bureaucracy run by machines. The lawyers dress like chavs, the President is a wrestler, and no-one can understand Joe because of the way he talks.

Joe is determined to find a time machine and get back to his own era so he can fix things before they get so bad. But the law is after him, and in the future their appetite for unnecessary violence is high. People are agitated because food supplies are about to run out. All of their crops are dying and the land is turning into a dust bowl. If Joe, as the smartest person in the world, doesn't find an answer then their anger will be directed at him. And although these people are dim, they like a good show when it comes to delivering justice, with plenty of gore and possibly some monster trucks thrown in for good measure. Joe has to save his own skin and rescue the human race from imminent extinction, and he only has a few days to do it in.

Idiocracy attempts to satirise some of the sillier aspects of our society, but it misses its mark because the humour seems to be just as lowbrow as the inhabitants of Mike Judge's future America. It's all very obvious, and the movie really only has one joke which it flogs to death. It's not entirely dull, because there's plenty of action moving the plot along. But the light-hearted tone means that we never really care about what happens to the main characters, since it's all presented as comedy. In other words, it's not subtle enough for any element of suspense to work.

This movie has its moments, such as the way the ubiquitous Brawndo drink turns up in the most unexpected places. On the whole though, Idiocracy is too crass for anyone who no longer finds jokes about farting amusing.

Film Details

Year: 2006

Categories: Films

  Science fiction

Classification: 15

If you like this, try:

Evolution cover    

Evolution by Ivan Reitman
A meteor crashes into the desert in this science fiction comedy. But things get strange when researchers discover signs of rapidly evolving alien life.

2 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson