Although released 11 years ago, “Idiocracy” is blatantly and painfully topical. For mysterious reasons, and after several postponements, the release of “Idiocracy” was done almost on the sly in 2006, in an almost general indifference. However, although not having benefited from any promotion worthy of the name, this film is on the way to becoming a cult film.
Is it because the question of IQ is less and less taboo in our latitudes? Is it because it is difficult to deny that there is danger in the house, with the general and uninhibited rise of various extremisms? Is it due to the arrival of the new President of the United States and his horde of screaming hussars dangerously blinded by a monolithic vision of the other and of life? Anyway, this film is unfortunately less light than it looks. And even if Mike Judge suggests that “intelligence” will still have the last word, the damage is so gigantic that a touch of resignation and conformity seems unfortunately inevitable in his eyes. In his vision, which sadly echoes our current cathodic daily life, the race to the bottom is in full bloom and increasingly inevitable.
Driven by a solid cast, comedians well-versed in comedy, colorful futuristic characters, a flamboyant president of jubilant ignorance, a 1st prize lawyer in the competition for profound debility, this escapade takes us on a “Time Masheen” à la sometimes comical, grotesque, tender and disturbing.
Two “normal” protagonists, a naively futuristic scenario, rather clumsy sets, music that wraps everything in a joyfully sparkling setting and in the end it’s 95 minutes of yellow laughter, 95 minutes that struggle to make us forget that reality is joining the fiction.
So here are Joe and Rita, our two “normal” protagonists, with a “normal” IQ, leading a “normal” life as an “average” American. Thanks to a failed scientific experiment, we are projected after them in 2505. Witnesses of an avalanche of waste which invades the heart of an abandoned city, we discover a beautiful and very lively city, populated mindless humans, sated with beer, sex and energy drinks. And the water in all this? Just good for toilet flushing! As for the president, Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho (played by the excellent Terry Crews), ex-wrestler and porn actor, he is hardly more caricatural than a cross between Trump and Rodrigo Duterte, the psychopath that the Filipinos have chosen as supreme ruler.
If the enormity of the situation presented were not so sadly realistic, the film would be comical… or ridiculous. Unfortunately, rewatching “Idiocracy” at the start of the year with President Trump in the White House is a bit like having a bad trip without an illegal substance.
Grotesque? A bad soap opera? “Idiocracy” could be defined like this if it weren’t just talking to us about ourselves. A parody ? Not really. It would rather be a magnifying mirror placed on an aspect of our current society while questioning its future: whereas 200 years ago, Charles Darwin spoke to us of natural selection, by which only the strongest elements of the species would allow its survival, Mike Judge questions us: And if the most numerous were in reality the only ones able to perpetuate the species? And if the stupidest, by their number and their exponential reproduction rate, were in reality the only ones able to make the species survive because only to continue to reproduce?
Sex, smoking and fat laughter
To enter Idiocracy is to enter a world that has become stupefied in the first sense of the term, without energy, without life, without relief. A world annihilated by base instincts, by a television that has replaced life with the vulgar, the coarse, the greasy, the heavy. A world in which water has become contemptible and despised and fields are sprayed with jets of energy drinks. A world governed by multinational corporations hungry for power and money, protected by the ignorance of their consumers.
Flattering the primary instincts of its fellow citizens, stuffing them with sugar and nonsense, running the factories at full speed, and producing hordes of docile and stupid soldiers, such is the project become reality of this so-called futuristic society.
And reality is currently joining fiction: “The Incredible Kardashian Family”, Donald Trump and his 140 characters which replace the depth of the speeches of his predecessors or “Touche Pas à Mon Poste” by the controversial Cyril Hanouna, who is barely at above the “Oh! My balls! » from the film, in which the characters spend their time having fun. It is to bet that it will be useless to wait for the year 2505 before starting to water our plants with energy drinks!
“Idiocracy” is a comedy which, under its light aspect, acts as a whistleblower aiming to question our herd instinct as well as our propensity to accept the ease in the face of arduous tasks. However, flight or renunciation are not the first qualities of Man. If that had been the case, we would still be hitting each other on the head with clubs while hiding in caves hearing thunder. It is the constraints, the limits, the challenges that push us to surpass ourselves. Therefore, we should not run away from them but welcome them with open arms so as not to be at the mercy of senior leaders whose IQ does not exceed that of a Cro-Magnon man. In the end, “Idiocracy” remains a fiction and it’s up to us that it doesn’t become reality (well in the United States, they’re off to a bad start…).
By Mike Judge
With Luke Wilson, Maya Rudolph, Dax Shepard, Terry Crews