DVD Review: Idiocracy

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Just as Children of Men hits the big screen, revealing a future tale in which humankind has lost reproductive capability and faces extinction, the DVD of Idiocracy delivers to the small screen a futuristic story in which the human population has been dumbed down due to the intelligentsia’s intentional deference of child bearing (until it’s too late) while boorish intellectually-deficient folk breed like bunnies.

The year is 2505. Into the current milieu, a society run by idiots, come a man (Luke Wilson) and woman who had, as test cases some 500 years earlier, been put into drug-induced hibernation and forgotten. They were supposed to be frozen in time for several years, not five centuries. And, when they’re released from their storage boxes by a mountain (literally, a mountain) of garbage that avalanches into the vault were they’d been hidden, they greet the whole new world of Idiocracy.The pair had been of just about average intelligence back in their day. But in 2505’s dumbed down population, they stand out as geniuses, and they’re called upon to solve all of this dysfunctional and failing future society’s shortcomings– by, for example, watering arid patches of land so crops will grow, and applying other simple solutions and commonplace skills that have been lost to the boobs who do nothing but watch the tube all day.

Invented by Mike Judge, the story’s premise is clever and the plot unfolds with amusing quirkiness. We see a future America run by corporations without regard for the population’s wellbeing– the FDA has been bought and is run by a company that feeds the population with a drink resembling Gatorade and there are other examples of misconduct by other thinly disguised brands and product that are popular among boobs who watch the tube today.

Idiocracy’s an entertaining spoof that’s also a cautionary tale. The premise isn’t very far removed from reality– just think about the most rapidly expanding segments of the population, and about economic and political influence exerted by corporations that have, as their primary goal, the accrual of profit rather than the health and wellbeing of consumers of their products.

All of which points to an essential question: why did Fox dump this film? Okay, so it’s not a classic masterpiece, nor is it populist Oscars fodder. But it deserved more than it’s 2006 release without supportive marketing. It was in and out of theaters in a flash. But it‘s very worth seeing– so thank goodness for the DVD.

Jennifer Merin

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