Idiocracy

dir. Judge

Now Available on DVD

Office Space was a colossal failure. Well, theatrically, anyway—released in 1999 with little advertising by 20th Century Fox, the movie bombed, an apparent failure for writer/director Mike Judge (Beavis and Butt-Head, King of the Hill). Yeah, years later, on video, Office Space became a massive hit—but for Judge, Fox's treatment of the film had to sting.

So one can only imagine how he felt with their botching of his latest, Idiocracy. After delaying it for over a year, Fox hastily released Idiocracy last fall in only six cities—with no TV ads, movie posters, previews, or press screenings. After reaping millions from Office Space and King of the Hill, Fox did their best to ensure that Idiocracy would be seen by no one. There are theories as to why: That Fox thought Idiocracy was terrible, that they couldn't figure out how to market it, that they wanted to avoid lawsuits from the corporations Idiocracy satirizes. Regardless, Fox finally released the film on DVD earlier this week.

Though uneven, Idiocracy has a killer concept: An average guy, Joe Bowers (Luke Wilson), gets cryogenically frozen, waking up 500 years from now. Sure, it's been done before (Sleeper, Futurama), and it's been done better (Sleeper, Futurama). But Idiocracy's hook—that in the future, humanity has gotten so lazily dumb that Bowers is the smartest man on Earth—gives the film its edge. Judge's future is what'll happen if Red State America continues to run the world: Americans slouch in La-Z-Boys with built-in toilets, watching either "Ow, My Balls!" or Fox News on giant-screen TVs. Costcos are the size of cities, Gatorade has replaced drinking water, and mountains of waste cause "garbage avalanches."

Sure, a lot of Idiocracy's jokes miss—but overall, the film's goofy fun, with a sardonic bite. Judge does not suffer fools gladly, be they the ones currently running America into the ground or audience members who aren't willing to go along with his clever, crude humor. Hopefully, Judge will no longer suffer the fools at Fox, either—he, his films, and his audiences deserve better. ERIK HENRIKSEN