Laugh…or the terrorists win

Hey, guess what? Michael Moore is fat! And, well, he likes food just as much as he hates America! And he’s fat!


That seems to be about the wittiest jab that is lobbed against the Left in the proudly Conservative “comedy” from David Zucker, one of the creators of “Airplane!,” “Top Secret!” and “The Naked Gun.”

Now, those titles alone are enough to earn comedic immortality, but they have recently been tainted from the stench of such overheated comedic concoctions as “Scary Movie 3 and 4,” “BASEketball” and “My Boss’s Daughter.”


Sure, Left-leaning Hollywood should not be above comedic jabs. Unfortunately for Zucker, that movie was made a few years ago, called “Team America: World Police,” which took a number of shots at some of the most politically vocal actors today (I still wonder what Matt Damon did to tick off directors Trey Parker and Matt Stone to deserve such a lashing).


Confusing a challenge to authority as unpatriotic, this cheaply made, painfully unfunny screed does the Right no favors for those who claim their comedic well is arid.


The film begins with Zucker trotting out his former go-to slapstick magnet, poor Leslie Neilson, who is well past his pratfall days, as he regales his grandkids of a Dickensian tale during a July 4th celebration.

Ebenezer Scrooge is replaced by Michael Malone (played by Kevin Farley, hired presumably because of his girth, not his talent), a documentary filmmaker whose liberal flicks are the toast of the towns of Hollywood and the Gaza Strip.


His tale is based on “A Christmas Carol” (at least the source material is better than other “parody” films such as “Meet the Spartans” and “Disaster Movie,” which merely strings other films together), wherein Malone is visited by three ghosts – Gen. Patton (played by Kelsey Grammer), George Washington (a shockingly waxy looking Jon Voight) and country singer Trace Atkins as the Angel of Death.


Unlike Dickens, each ghost repeatedly slaps the stuffing out of Malone in order to get him to “love America.”


And while Zucker once smartly packed his parodies to the brim, here he too often keeps it in cruise control, coasting with neither humor nor message, but just awkward setups without any comedic payoff. And the humor that does make the cut feels well past its expiration date. Seinfeld references, a Jimmy Carter speech, Gary (“Dif’rent Strokes”) Coleman comedy and such top-billing cameos as Dennis Hopper, Kevin Sorbo and James Woods? Really? Grammer, who as the main ghost Patton, exudes as much manliness as Bruce Vilanch (his “Cheers” wife Lillith would have cut a more frightening figure than he does here), and yet he’s by far the most watchable of the lot.


Meanwhile, it seems that every few seconds we are reminded just how inconsequential Malone is a director and what little impact his films have.


The over-riding question, then, of “An American Carol” is that if Moore…excuse me, Malone is such an insignificant figure as he’s often ridiculed to be, then why is he held up for such derision in this film? It seems the film may have been more effective for parodying his filmmaking tactics than merely making lame character assassinations against him. (Again, he’s a fatty!)


The most comedic aspect of the entire film is a cameo from blowhard Bill (“We’ll do it LIVE!!!”) O’Reilly, who pretends to be civil while getting yelled out by a guest on his television program.


The film also makes a bizarre solemn juxtaposition to Ground Zero amidst what is otherwise supposed to be a comedic moment between Malone and Washington. For a comedy, there seems to be a prevailing mood of anger that is an awkward fit.


The British are light years are ahead in the humor department, for they understand an essential element that “Carol’s” creators will never admit to – humility.


They are too busy espousing pride and hubris, which are traits that often do not lend themselves to comedy. They confuse finding faults within ourselves as some sort of weakness, resorting instead to finger-pointing, mockery and cheap shots at “others.”


To use a phrase that often has been reserved for the Left this election, this is the definition of “elite.”

~ by usesoapfilm on October 7, 2008.

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