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Friday, May 05, 2006

American Dreamz

I have no idea how it started, but I think I am starting to fall in love with Mandy Moore.

Maybe it has to do with the latest film she starred in, American Dreamz. An amusing comedy that pokes fun of the Bush administration, American Idol, the contestants of American Idol, and the fans of American Idol.

She plays a manipulative, ambitious karaoke queen from Ohio, Sally Kendoo, whose dream isn't only to appear on American Dreamz, an American Idol-like show that happens to be the number one show in the world, but to win it all. So determined to win it all that she dumps her long-time boyfriend (Chris Klein), who joins the army, is sent to Iraq, and then gets shot. Which gives her the perfect opportunity to reunite with him when he returns, not because she loves him, just because he will give her a great backstory, allowing viewers to sympathize and vote for her. Wonderful idea!

There are times when I wish that I have a gimmick which can earn me the sympathy of the public so that my film projects can be received with more excitement, and that I will get away with anything I do. Ah, the sympathy card, anyone who plays with it will always win, anyone who disses anyone who plays the sympathy card will always get shot. Such is the way of the world.

Of course, standing in her path is an aspiring terrorist, Omer (Sam Golzari), who wants to avenge the death of his mother (she was killed by an American bomb). Being hopelessly incompetent as a terrorist, he is sent to live with his relatives in America, and is discovered while belting some show tunes at the basement of his relatives' home. Thus he is given the chance to appear on the show too, kinda like William Hung with a catchphrase ("You have been Omer-ized!"), and suck less.

The American Dreamz show is controlled by Simon Cowell-like Martin Tweed (Hugh Grant), who is also scheming and manipulative, doing whatever it takes to increase ratings for his shows. The most powerful man on television, he sits on a chair with the audience, dishing out biting criticisms on contestants, tearing them apart Cowell-style, but yet oddly charming in a way capable only by Hugh Grant whenever he plays a badass.

So powerful the show is that USA's President Staton (Dennis Quaid), newly reelected and living in seclusion after reading the newspapers for the very first time, decides to appear in the show finale as a guest judge. The president is nothing more than a puppet controlled by his Cheney-like Chief of Staff (Willem Dafoe), everything he does is instructed by the Chief of Staff through a secret receiver placed in his ear canal.

Therefore, knowing that the president will be at the finale, Omer is given a mission to blow him and the president up during the show.

So yeah, that's basically the plot. Hugh Grant is great as always, Dennis Quaid sort of pokes fun of George W Bush, yet he is oddly sympathetic. (Numerous members of the audience actually made 'awww' of pity in certain scenes.) Sam Golzari is hilarious as Omer.

But Mandy Moore's Sally Kendoo, whoa, WHAT A MALICIOUS, EVIL BITCH! And I meant that as a compliment. Man, if such a person exists, she will be perfect as my partner during my mission to rule the world. If she looks like Mandy Moore, I will be a even happier person. This brings me back to what I was saying at the beginning of this film review, I think I am starting to fall in love with Mandy Moore. Seriously, how can somebody be so deliciously attractive when playing an evil, opportunistic bitch? I think she was wonderful in Princess Diaries as the cheerleader bitch who harassed Anne Hathaway, and I think Princess Diaries 2 is so utterly disappointing because of her absence (... and also because the love interest in the film is as interesting as a piece of rock. Gah.) Sally Kendoo reminds me so much of... myself. It scares me.

Anyway, Mandy Moore's Myspace page is here. And yes, it IS actually her. You people can visit her all day and witness her greatness.

(Note to Miss Moore: Please forget about your musical career, you'll do just fine as an actress.)

Anyway, American Dreamz is an amusing film that had me chuckling and guffawing numerous times. Didn't really fulfill its potential as it may have tried aiming at too many different targets at once to make fun of. It could've done without the president subplot by focusing more on satirizing American Idol. After all, whatever shots intended at the Bush Administration, it just didn't really work that well. It feels more like a comedy than a satire (it's really not that mean, but then, I'm not American, so I might have missed some things) I still think it's a pretty funny film, though not as memorable as director Paul Weitz's other works, American Pie and About A Boy (I've not seen In Good Company).

Watch other reviews of American Dreamz.

Watch the trailer of American Dreamz:

Read other reviews of American Dreamz:
The Story Of A Girl | Blogcritics.org's first review | Blogcritics.org's second review | Tinfoil, whiskey, and computers

(I think I'm the most positive reviewer among them all...)

On a rather unrelated note, if you are looking for someone who satirized the Bush Administration more effectively, just download the video clips of the incident everyone's been talking about during the past few days. Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central, roasting Bush during the White House Correspondences' Dinner. If what you've watched in the video makes you want to thank Stephen Colbert, go to the Thank You Stephen Colbert website.