Michael Moore is Fat!

I know you'll all be shocked, shocked to hear that this year's big "conservative comedy" flick is an enormous pile of doo-doo. Take a whiff:

One of the right wing's standard talking points is that Hollywood is run by liberals who hate God, America, freedom and Republicans—in that order. But if An American Carol is any indication of the kinds of movies the major studios would produce were conservatives in charge, we should consider ourselves fortunate that La-La Land is apparently the leftie paradise its critics claim it to be. Forget about politics for a moment (we'll get to that later), Carol is first and foremost a terrible piece of filmmaking, marred by bad performances, cringe-inducing dialogue and amateurish direction. In fact, the only funny thing about this supposed comedy is that after forcing moviegoers to endure 80-odd minutes of sophomoric jokes about body odor and lame send-ups of famous Hollywood types, it ultimately asks to be taken seriously as social commentary.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, director David Zucker said distributor Vivendi Entertainment did not screen "An American Carol" in advance for reviews because 'those (who) don't like the politics will tend to label the film as 'not funny.' "The implication, of course, is that movie critics are a pitchfork-and-torch mob of raging leftist liberals who will tear down anything that opposes their personal ideologies.

But I can't imagine anyone - Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, red-state or blue-state, earthling or E.T. - finding "An American Carol" anything other than "not funny." And idiotic. And demeaning. And aggressively, persistently crummy.

Bad enough to earn a rare spot on my hallowed list of "The Worst Movies I've Ever Seen," "An American Carol" is testament that the country's culture wars are raging just as strongly within Hollywood as anywhere else. That is the only way to explain the presence of so many famous actors (including Kelsey Grammer, Jon Voight, James Woods and Dennis Hopper) in a movie that I suspect even they will never watch in its entirety.


"An American Carol," too, is so hell bent on getting its message across that it becomes a turn-off. Belligerence is rarely funny, and when Zucker dares to exploit the smoking World Trade Center ruins as an argument for silencing those who choose to protest war, "An American Carol" crosses the line into stupefying offensiveness.

There was a very famous episode of "Seinfeld" in which a co-worker insulted George Costanza, who was unable to formulate a comeback in time. After giving it significant thought, he eventually came up with an ill-conceived retort to use on his tormenter at the earliest available opportunity: "The jerk store called. They want you back." The new comedy An American Carol is the cinematic equivalent of George's "jerk store" insult. Directed and co-written by David Zucker (of Naked Gun and Scary Movie fame), the film is openly intended to be a dig at liberals, aimed at conservative audiences who feel that modern movies too infrequently reflect their own political views. However, the humor here is so mild and so ineffectual that it has no bite whatsoever. Forget politics: An American Carol sucks simply because it's ridiculously, painfully unfunny.


Other times, the satire is just hard to grasp. At one point, Patton defends the need to occasionally take up arms by showing Malone what the world would be like had Abraham Lincoln not freed the slaves. Turns out that Malone would have been the biggest plantation owner in the country, with Gary Coleman working as his personal car washer. Excuse me but, Huh?
Yeah, isn't that hilarious? And if you were wondering how Zucker managed to use 9/11, take a look at this. (Potentially triggering)

Where Zucker goes almost unforgivably off the tracks is when the ghost of George Washington (Jon Voight) takes Michael to the church he used to worship at in Manhattan -- St. Paul's Chapel, which also happens to be next to the World Trade Center. Washington opens the chapel doors and shows Michael the wreckage of Sept. 11, 2001, driving home the point that America is in dire straits and must fight against the enemy.

Using images of an annihilated, still dusty Ground Zero in a comedy would be one thing if the intention were to be as taboo and offensive as possible -- if the filmmaker KNEW he was crossing the line and was doing it on purpose, in other words. But Zucker doesn't seem to have that attitude. He seems to think it's OK because, underneath the comedy, he has such a Serious Point to make. He's dead wrong, though, and this scene is uncomfortable (not in the funny way) and appalling (not in the intentional way). Surely this gross misappropriation of 9/11 is as self-serving and inexcusable as any of the "anti-American" behavior he accuses Michael Moore of.

No shit. And just in case if you were wondering if this film only lampoons Moore and the "liberal elite:"
A sequence on a college campus is perhaps the most astute. A student "demonstration" is defined as "when students show what they don't know by repeating it loudly," and then there's a musical number in which the professors harmonize on how they're the same America-hatin' liberal hippies they were in 1968, and how useless universities are now ("You'll get extra credit if you're poor, black, or gay!" they sing).
Let it be said, here and now: Conservatives and the Right Wing are simply. Not. Funny. They are incapable of humor, and their attempts fail miserably. It's very simple: humor, cruelty and hatred just don't go hand-in-hand. As one reviewer put it:
Now, while I'm saying that my disdain for the picture has nothing to do with politics, we have to delve into them for a second so that I may explain why the attempt to skewer the liberal worldview doesn't work. Political satire absolutely requires some element of truth in order to be effective. Without at least a kernel of honesty, all you're left with is propaganda. Perhaps the biggest mistake An American Carol makes - other than not being funny - is that it tries to root its attacks in concepts that are fundamentally bogus. For example, it takes the position that only conservatives care about our troops serving in Iraq, which is just blatantly not true. Being against the war is not the same as apathy toward the men and women serving overseas. There is also a repeated suggestion that anyone who doesn't think America is perfect is nothing less than a traitor. To suggest that this great nation can't be improved upon is not patriotism, it's blindness. Because so many of the "jokes" are based on these inaccurate ideas, they consistently fall flat.
I would also add that when all of your humor is based on "Ha, Ha, He's fat! Watch fatty eat!" and slapping a liberal in the face, you are fucking doomed.

Of course, this isn't stopping conservatives from blaming that goddamned liberal Hollywood for this dismal failure, or even, Jebus help us, teenage movie theater ticket-takers.

Frankly, I can't imagine a worse statement than this one (ironically found in a semi-positive review):
There are two faces of this film: the film’s entertainment value and also its obvious conservative agenda. Airplane! director David Zucker both writes and directs this film, something he hasn’t done in a while, and while it may be his passion for the subject, it’s easily more entertaining than either Scary Movie 3 or 4.
The boiled egg I ate for breakfast was more entertaining than either Scary Movie 3 or 4.

Epic fail.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus