BLU-RAY/DVD REVIEWS

003574Reviews & Counting
SEARCH BY TITLE # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
American Dreamz
DVD disk
Nov 3, 2006 By: Quigles
American Dreamz order
Director:
Paul Weitz

Actors:
Hugh Grant
Dennis Quaid
Mandy Moore

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

star Printer-Friendly version
comment
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The President (Quaid) gets set to guest judge an episode of the latest TV sensation, American Dreamz, a show where normal people attempt to sing their way to stardom. Battling it out, among others, are Sally Kendoo (Moore) and Omer Obeidi (Golzari)... Little do they know that Obeidi has plans to assassinate the nation's leader if he is able to get to the final round.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
The worst thing about AMERICAN DREAMZ isn't that it's such a huge wasted opportunity, or that it's both dumb and safe while pretending to be outrageous and biting -- No, the worst thing about this film is knowing that a large portion of the world (well, America at least) is going to think they're smart and sophisticated for "getting" this oh-so-clever "satire". Well let me tell you, this movie ain't good satire... it's Satire for Dummies. All of the jokes/parodies are painfully obvious and unoriginal, leaving the audience squirming in their seats at the endless moments of lame humor and poor attempts at political commentary. The actual premise isn't half bad, and based on the trailer I almost thought they were going to do something worthwhile with it... but nope. Just false hopes geared toward yet another Hollywood crapfest.

Paul Weitz has become a mystery to me. He did a stand-up job directing the consistently hilarious AMERICAN PIE and wonderfully entertaining ABOUT A BOY, and then he pulled a double-punch when he both wrote and directed one of the best films of 2004, IN GOOD COMPANY. So what the hell happened here? I mean, the two worst aspects of the film are the script and the direction... and he's accountable for both! The only standout highlight here is the acting, with the performers truly owning their roles to full effect. I especially loved Omer's gay cousin, who, despite playing an annoying character, did a great job of making it work. Also solid in their roles are the always-charming Hugh Grant, cutey patootey Mandy Moore, and talented newcomer Sam Golzari (who plays Omer, the show tunes-loving Iraqi). Dennis Quaid, on the other hand, has f**k-all to work with, bumbling around like a moron in a series of poor Bush jabs (and Willem Dafoes' Cheney is no better, despite his best efforts).

AMERICAN DREAMZ is a movie that should be great, but fails at even being good. It introduces plenty of elements perfectly ripe for lampooning, and then does nothing with them (well, at least nothing worthwhile or funny). It also pathetically backs out like a coward at every chance for controversy, which I guess is a good thing in this case, since they probably would've f**ked that up too. From the looks of it, Weitz seemed to be more focused on making a silly, feel-good teen flick than the clever, harsh parody of current worldly affairs that the premise promised.
THE EXTRAS
There's some good stuff worth glancing at here.

Audio Commentary (with director Paul Weitz): Right off the bat Weitz captured my interest by discussing not so much the movie, but all the problems involved with DVD commentaries. Steering clear of these, he divulges plenty of interesting and informative tidbits about the film's development and the actors involved. To spice things up, Sam Golzari shows up about half way through the film.

Deleted Scenes (12:07): There are 13 scenes, a few of which are quite funny and worth watching (like Omer's mall trip). The rest are basically excess segments that feel more like sound bites.

Center Stage: Sally Kendoo (3:58): A humorous send-up of those lame TV-produced backstage tours, this one focusing on Mandy Moore's character going behind-the-scenes of the American Dreamz show.

Dance Dreamz (7:27): This is a real behind-the-scenes featurette, discussing the work done with choreographer Jennifer Li. Footage is shown with the actors working on their humorous dance routines, and interview segments including Sam Golzari, Paul Weitz, and Tony Yalda (the hilarious gay cousin). Check it out.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
The only reason I'm not giving this film a 2 or lower is because at least it kept me mildly entertained despite its insanely disappointing payoff. I will also admit to smiling every now and again, and yes, maybe even laughing a couple times. But that's the extent of the joy this movie brought me. What we're left with is a mediocre production holding back a potentially great one. The material's all there - all that's needed is a bit of script tweaking and a much less sloppy execution. As is, AMERICAN DREAMZ remains fit only for high school students and people that don't know the meaning of the word "satire".
Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

JoBlo's T-Shirt Shoppe | support our site... Wear Our Gear!