myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics Totally Biased Book and Movie Review: American Dreamz (nightmare) Review

Saturday, October 21, 2006

American Dreamz (nightmare) Review

American Dreamz

Starring Hugh Grant, Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid, Willem DaFoe

Directed by: Paul Weitz (and written by him,too)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some sexual references

107 minutes

...Against all my better judgment, I am delivering the requested review on this movie. If you loved it, so sorry. Again, I cite the "Biased" portion of my blog title. You asked what I thought, you've been warned.

Again I was duped. I watched the previews for American Dreamz and thought to myself, now that is going to be a good movie. I loved about About A Boy- one of my ever after favorites- and here we were again, directed by same director Paul Weitz, it was a snazzy-looking little flick, an ironic take on American Idol-type television shows, also with the star of About A Boy, Hugh Grant, who inexplicably cracks me up at odd times. Present as well, Mandy Moore, who made me tinkle myself with her performance in Saved! Not to mention the secure place on my Keep Shelf that her teenage coming-of-age flick, How To Deal has.

Oh there are probably spoilers ahead, if you are anything like gullible me and thought this movie was about what the previews showed, instead of about... our stupid president, terrorists bent on destroying us and the well-known fact that all Americans are stupid and greedy, and did I say stupid? It was the main message of American Dreamz, so if you do bother watching it, make sure you understand…especially if you’re an American, when such clever irony might get lost in the air filling up your skull. Also, I might have more run-ons than usual, a fine representation of what happens when I am reviewing a movie I loathed, anxious to write the review and get it out of my head for eternity.

I somehow, thankfully, missed A.D. at the theaters. But I’ve been watching for it like a hawk, and when it was finally released this week, my friend bought it and we made plans to watch it on Friday. I was also asked to do a review on it as soon as I saw it. American Dreamz has been something to look forward to, a movie I was going to like, I was positive. That’ll teach me, again, won’t it? So last night we sat down, all bubbly with anticipation in front of the DVD player, and three hours later (made so long because we constantly had to take breaks from the movie, to smoke, to yawn, to stretch, to vomit….) we sat watching the credits with grim expressions on our faces, instead of the delighted grins we were planning on.

What is so disappointing with movies like this one is the Couldabeen Rule. You know the one- they have great cast, a great story idea, great producers and directors…It couldabeen so good, we moan.

And it goes like this… Hugh Grant plays Martin Tweed, aka Tweedy, the host of, you guessed it, an American Idol kind of show, called American Dreamz (the theme song actually has the lyrics, “American Dreamz…with a Z…” which was only clever the first couple of seconds that we heard it.) He is shallow and self-centered, and he did make me chuckle a few times with his surface-thin self, but it quickly became old, as the rest of the movie was from the beginning.

Ok, let me just say it. Bush bashing is old. Contrary to some people’s beliefs, the entire population of our country does not hate George Bush with a seething, boiling, never-ending hatred. And “George Bush Is Dumb” jokes stopped funny after the first six million. Dennis Quaid plays a bumbling, idiotic president, depending every second on his puppeteer chief of staff, a really creepy-looking bald Defoe, obviously meant to remind all of the viewers yet again that we have this really dumb president. Uh-huh. We know. He doesn’t read newspapers, his wife is more like his mother than a lover (calls him “Poopy” or something equally retarded) and he has to have an earpiece for DaFoe to whisper words for him to say… hardy har har…been there, done that, wasn’t funny the first time. Or six million, like I said. The President, to raise his ratings, is going to be a guest judge on American Dreamz. Great idea.

Moore meanwhile plays Sandy Kendoo, one of the contestants from some small, no-where town. Interestingly enough, although she lives in what would be described as a Frickin Mansion in my town, she is supposed to be “white trash”. She is a cold, grasping heart beneath bubbly blonde persona, cruel to her dumb (of course he’s dumb- we all are, that’s what the movie’ about!), puppy-like, solider boyfriend and will do anything to win the competition. Our other main character is also a contestant on the show, and here’s where the fun really starts. He’s an Iraqi terrorist named Omer who is going to use his winning moment to blow up, guess who (oh you’re good at this) the Guest Judge. Isn’t this HILARIOUS?

………….. oh, sorry, I was snoring. What was I talking about? Ah yes… the delights of this -don’t we Americans hate everything American?Let’s make fun of it all- movie. It's this kind of rib-nudging, winky-wink, nodding filmmaking that makes me ill. Each of the viewers is supposed to understand, I guess, that the film is about all the other dumb Americans. Not we, the select few that watch movies. We're different.


When a movie depends upon the viewer sharing the same views on politics, television, society and an apparent belief that terrorists are really big-hearted guys who truly want to be Americans themselves (as evidenced by their great love of Showtunes and the way they sit in the tents at night and watch US television)… then the movie’s going to fall flat with more than a few people. That loveable Omer, who could blame him for wanting to kill us all? It’s just a cultural thing, and sure enough, once exposed to the Apple Pie Goodness of the United States, he became one of us! The terrorist, is in fact intended to be the “sympathetic” character. That’s taking political correctness just a wee bit too far for my admittedly biased tastes. Yet none of these people are sympathetic, you hate them all… well, with the exception of the gay cousin, but even he was just a caricature and we probably liked him more out of relief at his predictable behavior than anything else. Look, if you’re all set on watching a Weitz movie, go rent About A Boy. Or American Pie. Just save your eyes, and your brain, and your stomach, and avoid the Clever Commentary on Today’s Society that is the unfortunate mess of American Dreamz.

I give it 1 &…

& I didn’t have to worry about insomnia while watching it


Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

This one was easily one of the stupidest movies I saw this year, and unfortunately I did bother to see it in the theaters .. For a supposed satire, it just lacks any kind of bite whatsoever

3:24 AM  
Blogger Orhan Kahn said...

Thanks for the heads up Kaat. Will certenly give it a miss.

5:37 AM  
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Blogger Jay said...

I love, love Hugh Grant and love, love Dennis Quaid and failed to love this movie. I'd say your review is right on.

5:49 AM  
Blogger Meowkaat said...

This movie deserves a miss, miss, and I'd rather learn about making an extra $800 a month from anonymous up there than be subjected to it again.

7:19 AM  

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