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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > American Dreamz (DVD-Video)

American Dreamz (DVD-Video)


Picture: B-     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Film: C+



Paul & Chris Weitz are back with another comedy, this time the Reality TV/Political/Media satire American Dreamz (2006) about an egotistical talent show host (Hugh Grant, playing to type) looking for the next ratings winner.  His advisors think they found it in the sexy Sally (Mandy Moore) and want her badly to be on the show.  At the same time, they have to deal with presidential administration interest in exploiting the shows popularity (Willem Dafoe as a Dick Cheney clone and Dennis Quaid as clueless George W. Bush), not knowing a terrorist attack may be upon them and the show for The President showing up.  This even comes down to a Musical-loving contestant recruited as a suicide bomber!


Unfortunately, the film plays it way too safe to be effective and though it has its moments, the number of missed opportunities are stunning.  Grant and Moore are particularly good, the supporting cast does their best with what they have and the unknowns are more effective than expected.  But anyone expected Billy Wilder’s 1, 2, 3 or Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove should know this is miles away from those masterworks.  Still, it is worth a look.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image was shot by the great Robert Elswit, A.S.C., and looks pretty good in this transfer.  The Weitz’s and Elswit totally grasp the phony look of all reality TV and know how to run with it, including in their implementation of analog videotape footage.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is almost mono in dialogue scenes and even the recording is oddly flat of said dialogue.  Extras include a faux Sally Kendoo segment, choreographer featurette, deleted scenes and OK feature commentary by Paul Weitz and actor Sam Golzari.


Though not a success, you’ll get some laughs out of a first look at the film, but it will not hold up afterwards.  Too bad, because all were really on to something.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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