I wanted to like this movie so much. It was billed as a conservative comedy, intelligently lampooning the pompous foibles of the left. It had an all-star cast. It was new and fresh and different, bucking the liberal Hollywood trend.
And it turned out to be one of the very worst movies I’ve ever seen.
My first clue should have been the movie’s first joke, where a Frisbee thrown at a family picnic hits a woman in the head, who then falls over. Really? This is a big screen-worthy joke? That’s not even worthy of America’s Funniest Home Videos.
The film, using for its template A Christmas Carol, takes a Michael Moore stand-in who hates the 4th of July and haunts him with spirits who show him how great America is and what patriotism really means. It’s a great idea and makes this movie’s total failure even more discouraging.
An American Carol comes to us from the minds who made the classic Airplane!, still one of the funniest movies ever made. Sadly, only a little of that screwball silliness makes it in here, and where it does, it’s off-cue, obvious, and inappropriate to the mood of the rest of the film. Example: just like the Frisbee, a little kid cursing lightly might have been mildly funny twenty years ago (remember The Goonies), but this movie loves it as a running gag, giving several small children really vulgar dialogue over and over again. It’s too much. A scene that imagines a slave plantation if the Civil War had never happened had potential to be clever, but wastes it on lines that are irrelevant and cringe-inducing. It was painful to watch.
The acting is horrible through and through. The bad guys, a trio of terrorists, are so sickeningly badly written that your average Sesame Street skit seems dapper and distinguished by comparison. These clowns aren’t good stereotypes, they aren’t good slapstick, they aren’t good anything.
Not a single joke in this entire movie was even remotely funny. I only finished watching it because I refused to believe that it couldn’t get better. I told myself there had to be some redeeming bit of brilliance somewhere. But it wasn’t to be.
Writer and producer David Zucker blamed the financial failure of this movie on the audience, saying that they prefer to wait for movies to come out on DVD. Note to you, Zucker: don’t blame the audience. Your movie failed because your movie was a failure.
Avoid this worthless, awful movie like the plague.
Final Grade: F