Written and Directed by Paul Weitz
From the trailer, American Dreamz gathers subject matter from politics to pop culture in what could have been a brilliant, biting satire about the current state of America and its citizenry. Instead, what is delivered is a Saturday Night Live parody. Unfortunately for the audience, it’s the unfunny, last sketch of the night that begins at 12:51 A.M. as filler between commercials before the host says, “Good night.” I sat in a theatre where no one laughed and if I hadn’t been reviewing the film, I would have walked out after about 40 minutes from sheer boredom.
Since the film does nothing to disguise its subjects because it is poorly written, the synopsis will be clearer if I just refer to the characters as their real-life counterparts. The film opens the morning after President Bush’s re-election. Being emboldened by his victory, he decides to read the newspaper for the first time and see what The New York Times has to say. He becomes so engrossed in all that is going on in the world he begins reading books and newspapers from around the world. It takes up so much of his time that he refuses to go outside or even change out of his pajamas. With speculation that the President has had a nervous breakdown, which causes his poll numbers to slip, Vice President Chaney decides that great way to boost the President’s image is to get him to be a celebrity judge on the finale of Simon Cowell’s American Idol.
The two finalists are Sally Kendoo, who has too obvious a name, and Omer. Sally appears to be an All-American blonde beauty from Ohio, but inside she is a scheming manipulator who will do anything to get what she wants, including using her ex-boyfriend, a wounded Iraq veteran who is still madly in love with her, to create a touching story for the audience. Omer is a terrorist-in-training, but he is such a bumbler no believes he will be of any use, so he is shipped off to Orange County to live with cousins. His heart was never really in it anyway, partially because it is filled with a love for show tunes. Omer isn’t a good singer, but Cowell forces him along into the finales. When the terrorists learn that Omer and the President will be together, Omer is given orders to become a suicide bomber and kill the President.
Paul Weitz must have made enough money for people in Hollywood that no one questions him because I don’t understand how this film got made. The “comedy” was non-existent. Only someone surrounded by yes-men and ass-kissers would think this script was ready to go. Put an unknown screenwriter’s name on the script and it would hit the trashcan so fast a sonic boom would have been heard from miles around. Other than the people who need a paycheck and maybe Hugh Grant, who is given a chance to play off-type, I don’t believe anyone read this script before agreeing to make it.
American Dreamz has aspirations to be something grand but its ideas are so obvious they are rendered lame. American Idol purposely picks contestants that are bad so we can laugh at them. No. Who knew? Thanks for the revelation. Chaney controls the President and what he says. Really? Never heard that before. Now, I’m no fan of the President, but the film paints him as borderline retarded, distracted by shiny objects. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be funny or commentary since it accomplished neither. Weitz and his lackeys need to realize that just because you have an idea does not make it good, unique or funny. If he had reviewed this film, he would have thought it both brilliant and humorous to have the headline read: American Nightmarez.