An American Carol (2008) David Zucker

Production Budget: $20 million
Gross: $7 million

My usual disclaimer for political and religious movies also apply to this movie too.  While I am discussing a movie about conservative politics I am judging this movie on the merits of its humor.  People can probably guess that I have political leanings toward the left but I did not watch this just to call right wingers names.  Really, I watched it because at one time David Zucker was a comedy genius with Airplane and The Naked Gun.  I am just going to try to judge this movie as a comedy above anything else.

Before I start with the movie can I mention that with all the movies and TV shows that have abused and whored out Dicken’s original story, I almost wish somebody goes back in time to warn Dickens so he can scrap the project to write something else.

Anyway, An American Carol is about a Michael Moore-ish filmmaker (played by Chris Farley’s brother Kevin Farley) who hates America and wants to ban the 4th of July.  He is haunted by three patriotic spirits who try to convert him to the right side of the political spectrum.  There is also a side plot about Islamic terrorists who try to bomb Madison Square Garden with the help of Moore’s character.

There are three different types of humor at play in An American Carol; jokes about Michael Moore, “political satire”, and slapstick humor.

I bash many a liberal “political satire” for being unimaginative one joke snoozefests.  War Inc. for example thought they could make an entire movie based on the joke Dick Cheney profited from the war in Iraq.  Here, we just make fun of Michael Moore.  Granted, Michael Moore is a nut who deserves almost all the scorn he receives.  But can we do something a little more imaginative than fat jokes?  In nearly every scene we have Farley eating a twinkie or a sub sandwich or a ding dong and making fun of the fact he is a fat bastard.  Really guys?  Is that all we have?  Of all the outrageous statements and gestures Moore has done in his entire career and all we can say is he eats a lot?  Okay there is one more joke and that is he is a documentary filmmaker and not a REAL filmmaker.  But the one joke they hammer incessantly is that Moore is fat.  Didn’t SNL beat that dead horse about 8 years ago?

The second type of humor is the political satire.  Really the movie is too preachy to be funny.  Apparently by the movie’s logic, because you disagree with the War in Iraq, you therefore are pro-slavery and pro-Nazi because you don’t want any war at all you ignorant peacenik pussy.  When the director gets up on his soapbox and yells the message in your ear, it no longer becomes a satire but a propaganda piece.  And when it got to the point where David Allan Grier came up to Kevin Farley as a slave and calling him Masser that I pretty much tuned out.  There is one part in which I laughed and that’s where Kelsey Grammer and Dennis Hopper killed ACLU zombies with shotguns.  One joke out of the whole movie in which I laughed.  That’s sad.

The third type of humor is the typical Zucker slapstick.  You would think slapstick is timeless but in the context of this movie it is terribly dated.  You really can’t mix intellectual humor like political satire and then expect us to laugh at the brainless slapstick of having Farley do prat falls, slamming his face in the door, and food in the face humor.  The two just don’t mix and its just dull.  And really, food in the face humor was old when the Three Stooges were still doing it in their 60’s.  Its tacked on and doesn’t add anything worthwhile.

Let me also make a special shout out to Kevin Farley who gives one of the worst performances in recent years.  I don’t mind Chris’ brother trying to strike out on his own and become his own comedian, but don’t try to emulate Chris man.  He flails his arms around, chews so much scenery, and is always mugging for the camera with dumbass faces it made me want to throw a brick through the TV.  Tone it down man.  You are not Chris, you will never be Chris, so don’t try.

Oh, I almost forgot the terrorist storyline.  Let me put it this way.  I would rather watch the terrorist humor in Postal than watch the completely unfunny sh*t they were doing in An American Carol.  I would rather watch Uwe Boll than David Zucker…excuse me a moment…

*head explodes*

Ok, I’m better now.

I would like to think I shot down the movie effectively based on its own merits and not on the politics but that’s not the case.  No matter what I say you can simply respond that I’m a butt hurt commie liberal who hates a movie that calls him on his own bullshit.  I guess you could make that claim.  Comedy is above all other genres a very subjective thing.  What is funny for one man is not for another.  I think Carlos Mencia, Tyler Perry, and Larry the Cable Guy are incompetent unfunny f*cktards but there are obviously millions willing to watch them and give them even more millions in dollars.  Just watching the reviews on IMDb there are many on the right that think this is a funny movie.  All I can do is give my opinion when it comes to movies and maybe others feel the same way.

Personally I think everyone, from the left to the right, should stop making satires on the War on Iraq at least for the time being.  Neither side is particularly funny.  This of course excludes TV shows like The Daily Show and the Colbert Report and on the movie side Borat and anything made by Trey Parker and Matt Stone.  Team America is funny as hell and bashes liberals in ways David Zucker can only dream of.

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One Response to “An American Carol (2008) David Zucker”

  1. Paul York Says:

    I have been reading your blog with great interest and amusement, and agree with many of your views and assessments, but this line surprised me: “Of all the outrageous statements and gestures Moore has done in his entire career …” I have to disagree. Moore is a genius. All his movies and his tv shows (eg TV nation) are smart, funny, and righteous — meaning they convey a strong message in favour of social justice in a clever and palatable manner. The only people I can imagine not liking him are soulless corporation execs, health insurance company execs, Westboro Baptist Church (whom he made fun of), the NRA, and the Tea Party. My only fault with him is that he has not trained his gaze on fossil fuel and factory farm corporations. I really wish there were more Michael Moores out there. But all that having been said, your blog is funny as heck. I enjoy reading it a great deal. Just had to disagree on this one point.

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