Mike Judge hit comic gold with "Office Space," a satire of dilberty office workers. It became a deserving cult hit.
Now he tries for a broader kind of satire -- the dumbing down of America, which nobody can deny if they've looked at test scores. "Idiocracy" is weird, crude, and a lot smarter than virtually any other movie released in the past year...
The Pentagon is preparing a special hibernation project, so it can "save" its best soldiers for wartime. As a test subject, they select Joe (as in "average") Bowers (Luke Wilson), who is the absolute average of average. Along with a prostitute named Rita (Maya Rudolph) he is put into hibernation for one year.... except then the program gets shut down, and they are forgotten.
Joe wakes up five hundred years in the future, only to find that mankind has changed radically. Well, maybe not so much. Turns out that welfare caused the trash hordes to reproduce a lot faster than the intellectuals. The path of evolution was thrown off. Now Rita and Joe find that they, the average, are the smartest people on the whole planet. God help them.
First off, don't expect a retread of "Office Space." This is not "Office Space." It never tries to be "Office Space."
This is Judge being cruder, ruder and more cynical, with jibes at welfare, blockbuster movies, dumbed-down speech, corporate logos, government, hillbillies, and corporate megastores. It's even got a TV show called "Ow, My Balls," which involves.... well, you can guess what it involves.
What isn't immediately obvious is that this humor exists to satirize itself. We do have shows like "Jackass" (which would be high art in "Uh-merica"), after all. Judge is winking and double-winking all the time, as he slathers "Idiocracy" in his over-the-top, cynical art. And you know what? It's hysterically funny, and gets more so once you've seen it more than once.
And it's got a pretty scary theme. "Survival of the fittest" has been overturned by the forces of stupidity? Well, I've encountered people on the same intellectual level as the Uhmericans of the future, and I find the idea terrifying. But that terror also makes you think about the dumbing-down of society... and not many satires can do that.
The plot tends to meander somewhat, as Joe and Rita get acquainted with the people of the future. Fortunately the movie does stay afloat, and Rudolph and Wilson are quite funny as the "straight men" to a planet that is one big joke.
The idea of a world populated by the descendents of Britney Spears is enough to make most people break out in cold sweats. And that's what "Idiocracy" does... right before it makes you laugh yourself sick.