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Saturday, January 15, 2011

American Dreamz (Paul Weitz)

Martin Tweed is the host and sole judge on "American Dreamz", a hugely popular TV show about to begin a new season. But Tweed, bored and barbaric, wants to shake things up this year. He orders his staff to ensure that an Arab and a Jew are among the competitors, and when the president of the United States says he wants to appear as a guest judge for the finale, well, that should be good for a laugh too.
The president is Joseph Staton, recently re-elected who does whatever his chief of staff tells him. But Staton, experiencing something of a mid-life crisis, has actually started reading the newspapers and thinking for himself. In fact, he is so concealed in the world of current affairs and book-learning that he has not appeared in public for several weeks, leading to rumours that he has had a nervous breakdown, prompting his chief of staff to try and get him on "American Dreamz."
Meanwhile, the early front-runner on the show is Sally Kendoo, a perky Ohio blonde who will turn on the charm in public very easily. She becomes the soulmate of Martin Tweed, and the two find kinship in their duplicitous black-heartedness. This distresses Sally's boyfriend William, a semi-wounded Army volunteer whom she is dating solely because it looks good on TV to have a boyfriend who fought in Iraq.
But what about the Arab? He is Omer, a sweet former terrorist-in-training who was exiled by his Iraqi handlers to live with his cousins in America. Omer was never cut out for terrorism anyway; he prefers singing and dancing. Nonetheless, when his handlers tell him to use his TV appearance - and the presence of the U.S. President as a guest judge - to further the cause, he has no choice but to obey. Although Later on he realises that nothing is worth losing your life over!

Starring: Hugh Grant, Dennis Quaid, Mandy Moore, Willem Dafoe, Chris Klein, Jennifer Coolidge, Sam Golzari, Marcia Gay Harden, Seth Meyers, John Cho

Why I loved this film: It is a spoof of the American TV show "American Idol", with Hugh Grant as a cross between Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell (which was very well done); also mocking President George Bush, The Middle East and the war on Iraq. I especially enjoyed President Staton's lines: "I've had speechwriters write for me all of my career and advisors telling me what positions to take. I can't even remember why I wanted to get into politics to begin with. I think it's because my mum wanted me to, to show my dad any idiot could do it"; "In terms of the Middle East, it looks like the problems over there are never going to be solved. I mean never, never, never, never, never, never. So, I'm sorry about that..."
But besides being hilarious, this film also teaches a lesson that life is worth so much more than any war or deception. It is much better to face reality, no matter how upsetting it may be!

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