"American Dreamz" (that's dreams with a "z") is a largely disappointing movie that fails to really be about much at all. The tagline says "Imagine a country in which more people vote for a pop idol than their next president." Isn't that our country? I had good expectations for this movie considering the writers, cast, and premise. The idea of satirizing current political events using a parody of the dreadful "American Idol" seems appealing, but the movie sadly manages to do nothing with it.
Good satire must be smart satire. Generally, one must be somewhat smart to get and enjoy satire. This movie is not very smart, and it is not very good. The political figures are simplistic spoofs of the current administration which are nowhere near as good as what one can see for free on "Saturday Night Live." The movie shows a lot of "crazy" situations, but it never manages to say anything about what it satirizes. It never makes the situations meaningful. This combined with the really shoddy looking production values (as Jason elaborated well on in his review) made the movie look and feel like a mediocre SNL sketch that just doesn't know when to end (as they so often do).
The cast is good. Hugh Grant seems not to be trying, but the others put forth good effort. I was happy to see Shohreh Aghdashloo (who is becoming one of my favorite actresses) and the underappreciated Judy Greer as I did not realize either of them were in the movie.
"American Dreamz" does have its moments. I really liked the montage featuring the various contestants and the spoofs of different music genres (Mama, please don't drink me to sleep tonight). I especially liked the Hasidic contestant (played by Buffy baddie Adam Busch). The first half of the movie was quite boring, but this sequence had me rolling. The movie does pick up in the second half, but it is still largely unmoving. This movie is definitely worth a rental, but that's about it.
I was supposed to watch it, until I saw the trailer. It wasn't that impressive, to tell you honestly... so I decided not to... and now this. :) But hey, I might take your suggestion. I'll rent a video.