Liberalism Gets the Laughs in An American Carol
- 2009 15 Jan
DVD Release Date: December 30, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: October 3, 2008
Rating: PG-13 (for rude and irreverent content, and for language and brief drug material)
Run Time: 83 min.
Director: David Zucker
Actors: Kevin P. Farley, Kelsey Grammer, Jon Voight, Dennis Hopper
“What we need is a Hollywood director who hates America,” says one terrorist to another, in this spoof which crosses Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with Airplane!
“They all hate America,” replies his comrade. “Yes, but we don’t want your average girly-man. What we need is someone who really, REALLY hates America.” Cut to Michael “Malone” (Kevin P. Farley, brother of the late Chris Farley), a documentary maker who looks and acts exactly like Michael Moore.
Malone is a shameless self-promoter with little scruples and a big appetite. He doesn’t hesitate to take the terrorist’s money for his next film, either—especially since his last one, Die, You American Pigs!, didn’t do too well at the box office. On the side, Malone is working toward the abolition of Independence Day, by mobilizing college students to march and protest. After all, who wants to celebrate a nation like the United States? So Malone sets himself up in a campaign-style office, which is run by a Jane Fonda lookalike, and begins to partner with the terrorists toward his first feature.
During this time, he is visited by the ghosts of John F. Kennedy, General George Patton (Kelsey Grammer) and George Washington (Jon Voight), who show him the “real” history of America. Tragically, this history did involve wars, but necessary ones—like that which led to the abolition of slavery. Malone is also visited by the Angel of Death (Trace Adkins), who gives him a good fright (this angel also gets significant air time when he sings at Madison Square Garden). Eventually, Malone begins to lighten up. He even agrees to help his crippled nephew, Tiny Tim, a blind niece and a few others.
Directed by David Zucker, who also helmed Airplane!, The Naked Gun and two Scary Movie sequels, An American Carol is funny—in the way that Airplane! was—although it’s not particularly original. Farley, Grammer and Voight are great, but some of the other actors (especially Malone’s nephew) are lackluster. Many of the situations (like the handicapped children) are not only absurd, but veer toward the malevolent, which gives it a nasty tone. Conservatives will definitely enjoy seeing their thoughts and comments about liberalism finally on-screen in a feature film—perhaps for the first time.
Zucker has gathered the few GOP-leaning actors in Hollywood, and they drive home their points with some good one-liners. “I’ll send you some DVDs of my movies,” says Malone, to his Navy officer nephew, as the officer ships off for Iraq. “That’s okay,” replies the sailor. “We captured a ton of those when we took Saddam Hussein’s palace.” “What is a demonstration?” asks one terrorist, outside Columbia University. “When students show how little they know by repeating it loudly, over and over again,” says another.
The “How-To” suicide bomber video is hilarious, and Malone’s appearance on The O’Reilly Factor, where a Rosie O’Donnell lookalike shows her latest “film”—an attempt to prove that Christians are as deadly as terrorists—is very good. Although the material is not particularly inspired, it’s satisfying to view such a comprehensive response to Moore’s ridiculous claims in his “documentaries”—not the least of which is that Cuba provides great healthcare to its citizens, in Sicko. A scene on a Cuban beach spoofs this well.
The Oscar-winning director gets hit pretty hard. He eats non-stop. He’s constantly grabbing women. And he’s portrayed as incredibly stupid—which is probably not the case, despite his less-than-logical politics. “You know what courage is, don’t you?” says one of the ghosts. “You mean, like the lion in The Wizard of Oz?” It’s funny, but it eventually becomes repetitive and even mean-spirited, at times.
If you’ve ever rolled your eyes at movies like Farenheit 9-11 or felt frustrated by a liberal’s comparison between evangelical missionaries and suicide bombers, you’ll definitely appreciate An American Carol. Military members will be particularly pleased, since much of the comedy centers around their role throughout history.
- Drugs/Alcohol: Several scenes with drinking.
- Language/Profanity: A handful of obscenities—many of which are uttered by young children.
- Sex/Nudity: A few lewd gestures and innuendo.
- Violence: Mostly spoofs of terror-style violence, such as a would-be suicide bomber who blows himself up; a mock video about the correct—and incorrect—way to carry out suicide bombings; a large auditorium filled with troops and civilians that is threatened with a bombing. All include various shots of bombs and a few explosions/fires. Also mock references to shoe bombers, underwear bombers, etc.