The Best Movie of 2006 That Wasn’t Called “The Lives of Others.”Posted: May 5, 2007
Mike Judge is a comic visionary. His animation work succeeds commercially on TV (Beavis and Butthead, King of the Hill), but for some reason, his live action films, which are really good, fail commercially in theaters. That was the case with the infinitely rewatchable Office Space (which gained an audience only after it showed up on video and cable). But his 2006 movie Idiocracy hit new lows of commercial failurosity. In five weeks of theatrical release, it did a grand total of $438,653 at the box office, according to the imdb. As Beavis or Butthead might say, “That sucks.”
But like Office Space, Idiocracy could get discovered on video and cable. It ought to be. It’s a funnier’n shit comedy about what happens when all the smart people defer having children and all the stupid people breed like rabbits. You get a world like the one in Idiocracy, five hundred years down the road from our own time, in which the average Joe from 2005 is the smartest guy on the planet.
The first terrifying thing about Idiocracy is that it feels true; the nightmare it imagines feels like a prescient prediction of our destiny. The second terrifying thing is that it makes you realize we’re just about there, and that the seeds of stupidworld 2500 are all around us.
There hasn’t been social satire on the screen this sharp in a long time. But the movie’s undercurrent of despair may be why Fox dumped it in theaters without promotion, and why people stayed away in droves. We can’t handle the truth.