Feature

American Dreamz

An American president and a game-show host try to boost each other’s ratings.

The president of the U.S. wakes up one morning and does something extraordinary, said Owen Gleiberman in Entertainment Weekly. Dennis Quaid, as the chief executive, asks to read a newspaper. Armed with new information, he confronts his chief of staff, played by Willem Dafoe in a Dick Cheney costume: 'œThere's three kinds of Iraqistanis! Did you know about this?' It's an easy joke that 'œcuts no deeper than 100 sketches from the past five seasons of Saturday Night Live,' and more broadly drawn caricatures follow. The president, shilling for popularity, ends up guest-hosting an episode of the pop idol TV tournament American Dreamz, for which Hugh Grant is the smarmy British host and Mandy Moore is a backwoods contender. Shooting fish in a barrel has never been so exciting, said Stephanie Zacharek in Salon.com. This movie is Dr. Strangelove compared to writer-director Paul Weitz's past efforts, including American Pie and About a Boy. Despite its breezy satire, there's also 'œa bedrock of melancholy' underneath. Weitz isn't pointing the finger where you think'”at our dumb president, our idiotic reality TV, or the scheming marketers behind it all. No, American Dreamz blames Americans for their own low culture. Weitz should have gone further, said Ty Burr in The Boston Globe. He's 'œcontent to tickle our ribs,' when real satire should cut so deep that it leaves 'œblood on the floor.'

Rating: PG-13

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