Written by Laura Romer
Director and co-writer David Zucker of cult comedy classic “Airplane!” and the “Scary Movie” series has made a film that is, first and foremost, for entertainment. Is it entertaining? Yes, at times and no at other times. But when it’s good, is it good.
“An American Carol” opens with Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” playing in the background as good ol’ Southern hospitality celebrates the Fourth of July with their red, white, and barbecue. Cue Leslie Nielsen, a Zucker film staple, to tell the tale of a Scrooge-esque character, an anti-war Michael Malone, and his quest to abolish the very same day that is being commemorated.
The satire follows filmmaker Malone (Kevin Farley), a not too inconspicuous incarnate of Michael Moore, and his quest of exposing the “truth” of America in award-winning documentaries, which might tell anything but the truth.
Apparently his latest documentary “Die You American Pigs,” didn’t go over as well as he would have hoped and sets forward with a new master plan- to make a feature. Believing a feature would attract more attention, even one entitled as “Fascist America.”
Meanwhile, two Jihadist lackeys who are unsure whether they want to die in the name of Allah or not, Mohammed and Ahmed, and their leader Azez have set their sights on Malone. Originally, they want Malone to revamp their “Martyrdom Made Easy” instructional video illustrating the dos and don’ts of Islamic radical suicide bombing. However, a change of heart results in them using Malone as a means to bomb a country music concert benefitting the troops in Madison Square Garden.
In the vain of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” Malone is confronted by three American spirits- two from the past, General Patton (Kelsey Grammer) and George Washington (Angelina Jolie’s dad, Jon Voight), and one “Angel of freakin’ death” in the form of country music star Trace Adkins. They each try to knock some American sense into this anti-July 4th chubby, capped crusader. And knock they do. And slap. And drop from such great heights.
“An American Carol” has been called the conservatives’ battle cry and their take on leftist mainstream media and the Hollywood elite. While definitely imbued with right-wing propaganda (as evidenced by the sheer presence of Bill O’Reilly), the film makes no bones about it. In fact, it wants the viewer to know the far left is the butt of some pretty darn funny jokes. Therefore, do not be surprised when ACLU lawyers are depicted as ruthless zombies that can only be disposed of with a pump action shotgun wielded by Dennis Hopper.
Some might take offense and some might take a lot offense. But if one can laugh at SNL’s lampooning of Sarah Palin or back in the day of Clinton with his state of, er, affairs, then things should be just peachy-keen. Perhaps the only difference between this and an SNL sketch is that “An American Carol” has a slightly larger budget.
A good premise, but not always executed to its full potential with good intentions sometimes fizzling out. Some jokes soar, which are usually the most un-PC, while others, including a prosthetic gluteus maximus, fall flat on the floor of utter confusion.
The film touches base on a variety of topics including the serious necessity of war in America’s past, the silliness of award ceremonies, and a mixed musical interlude featuring a match up between education and indoctrination with the latter winning.
A smorgasbord of pop culture references include a bunch of crazy Christians, Hannah Montana referred to as evil, and Paris Hilton making yet another appearance just for the money.
Sometimes its own point gets in the way of the funny with the middle becoming bogged down, especially a trip through time to show what would happen if the Civil War was never fought and slavery was still in tact.
The movie contains quite a few barrels of laughs, yet its uneven pacing ultimately kills some of its own jokes. Still, the barrel is half full for this short (it’s only 82 minutes) and sweet film. Not really worth the $8 admission price, but definitely worth a rental when it comes out on DVD. Just be sure to check your political correctness at the door.