Writer/director Paul Weitz’s satire American Dreamz is being dismissed by critics for being too lightweight. But with all the serious political films that were released in the past few months, the film’s lightness is welcomed. The film, which lampoons both American Idol and the Bush administration, isn’t as savage or biting as great satires like Wag the Dog, but the silliness of the film is part of its charm.
The film stars Hugh Grant as the Simon Cowell-like host of American Dreamz and Dennis Quaid as a dimwitted President with a crisis of conscious. Grant’s contestants include Sally, a fame hungry blond (Mandy Moore) and Omer, a sweet nature Arab, who is a bumbling would be terrorists. When the president is set to co-judge American Dreamz Omer is suppose to take him out with a suicide bomb.
This plays funnier than it reads because of the game cast. Grant is at his snidely charming best. Moore has the power hungry bitch routine down cold. Many have done Bush impressions, but Quaid’s take is amusing on its own terms. Not exactly thought provoking, but not completely empty-headed either. It is a mostly grin worthy experience that scores some big laughs.