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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Movie Review: ‘American Dreamz’ serves up spoofs with a twist

    In “”American Dreamz,”” Mandy Moore plays a pop singer, and the president rarely reads the newspaper to know what’s going on with the world today. Is this supposed to be fiction?

    Martin Tweed (Hugh Grant) is preparing to cast the next season of his hugely popular show, “”American Dreamz”” (read: “”American Idol’). To keep the show’s ratings high, he tries to step outside of the box and look for real characters. He finds a manipulative girl from Ohio (Mandy Moore), a thug wannabe Jewish rapper (Adam Busch) and a terrorist in training with dreams of Broadway (Sam Golzari).

    Omer Obedi, the terrorist in training, was sent from Iraq with instructions to stay with his family until his sleeper cell contacts him. The terrorists weren’t even planning on using the bumbling Omer, who couldn’t even make his way through training camp, until Omer accidentally stumbles into a spot on “”American Dreamz.”” The executives from “”Dreamz”” were planning on picking his cousin to fill the spot, but they overheard Omer singing musical numbers and chose him instead.

    Now the terrorists, like the rest of America and the world, are enthralled by the show’s cutthroat competition and realize Omer’s not so useless after all. They finally contact him and give him the mission to get through the contest to the final show and kill the president.

    The president (Dennis Quaid) is supposed to come out of seclusion by being a judge on “”American Dreamz”” in order to boost his ratings. With Omer already in the thick of things, the terrorists figure it’ll be only too easy to have him set off an explosive and send America to its knees.

    From the trailers and commercials, it misleadingly seems like “”American Dreamz”” is mostly a commentary about the state of America and how the millions of citizens care more about voting for the winner of televised musical competitions than voting for their president.


    “”American Dreamz””

    Universal Pictures


    It actually becomes more of an attack on the American government than the people who vote for it. Director Paul Weitz doesn’t even attempt to camouflage which president and vice president Dennis Quaid and Willem Dafoe are spoofing. It’s a bold move and takes the jabs a lot deeper than most “”Saturday Night Live”” skits do.

    Quaid’s character, President Staton, is hopelessly clueless on the state of the world. He has never picked up a newspaper until he has a big awakening after getting re-elected and is shocked to learn that there are really three kinds of “”Iraqistans.””

    If Quaid had played the role differently, there would have been a lot more criticism of the movie for attacking the president. Instead, his portrayal is more subtle. He and Dafoe sneak in a lot of the jokes in such an endearing way that you can’t help but laugh at the president. The character evolves so that you see he’s not really such a bad guy, but he makes the wrong decisions because he’s kept in the dark about everything.

    “”American Dreamz”” doesn’t really answer any deep lingering questions on terrorism and how to fix the problems in Iraq, but it sure gives you a chance to see it in a humorous light.

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