Who's in It:
Hugh Grant, Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid, Marcia Gay Harden, Jennifer Coolidge, Chris Klein, Willem Dafoe, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Sam Golzari
The Basics: This ensemble comedy about an American Idol-ish TV show and a terrorist who plots to kill the president is much less funny than watching endless repeats of William Hung's Idol audition.
What's the Deal? Mean-spirited Simon Cowelllike character? Check. Ruthlessly ambitious Kelly Clarksonlike character? Check. Soulless agents? Opportunistic stage moms? Borderline mentally challenged president? Southern belle first lady? Wacky, show-tuneslovin' Muslim terrorists? Limp, toothless script? Check, check, check, check, etc.
This Movie's Idea of Funny: Terrorists with TiVo! Can you imagine? Wow, that's a riot! And they know how to use it, too! Our big, complicated Western technology, and these rabid animals watch reality shows with it!
This Movie's Idea of Satire: Is to show George W. Bush as a bumbling, harmless clown. He means well, but none of the stuff going on around him is his fault, folks, because, see, he's just so darn dopey! Awwww! Bless his heart! This is satire that gums you to death. Slowly. So either director Paul Weitz chickened out along the way or the movie was defanged by someone with more power.
What's Funny About This Sleep-Inducing Mess: It takes an original song featuring the movie's title to come up with the funniest line. "American Dreamz
" sings Mandy Moore, "Dreams with a Z." And then the rest of the movie is a lot of zzzzzzz.