It’s No Sleeper, But It’s Still Fun

Main Cast: Luke Wilson, Maya Rudolph, Dax Shepard, David Herman

Director: Mike Judge

Plot Summary: An “average” man and woman are put into hibernation for 500 years, and wake up to find that they are the most intelligent humans alive in that time.

0This is an amusing take on the dumbing-down of America by, ironically enough, movies and TV. While it has some funny moments, it doesn’t quite skewer popular culture enough: it has fangs but no venom. But it works well as a comedy.

Luke Wilson plays Joe Bauers, a private in the army who is a slacker but, according to a battery of tests, is the “most average” man they have. This brings to mind that amusing saying about “all the children are above average” by Garrison Keillor, but I digress. The army has to look outside its ranks for the average female (does that mean all females in the army are above average?) and finds Rita, a hooker. A running gag is how she convinces Joe that she is an artist with a very jealous boyfriend.

In any case, the two are put into deep freeze and, through a series of misadventures, are forgotten about. They finally wake up 500 years in the future. I did like the way the writer/director turned the usual sci-fi canard on its head: how in the future we would be more intelligent, or at least more advanced, than we are now. He took the opposite tack: everyone is as stupid as a bag of bricks, and instead of flying cars, trips into space, and medical advances, we have open stripper clubs, sex palaces, and violent shows at the most basic level of crudeness.

Joe runs afoul with the law and tries to talk reason, with no affect. He is viewed as funny and, more importantly, not one of the herd. Therefore he must be punished. But he does manage to escape (multiple times), and finally meets the President of the United States: who is no smarter than anyone else. Rita is found and joins Joe, although not without reservations.

Overall this wasn’t a bad film. As I said, it could have had sharper humor, darker, and with more bite. But in a comedy it works. I could level the charge that the plot is simple and telegraphs every point, as if speaking to — well, dummies in the audience. I’m not sure whether or not that was intentional: which is a sad commentary on life today, let alone 500 years in the future.

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