An American Carol

Year: 2008
Production Co: Mpower Pictures
Director: David Zucker
Producer: David Zucker
Writer: David Zucker/Myrna Sokoloff
Cast: Kevin Farley, Robert Davi, Kelsey Grammer, Jon Voight, Bill O'Reilly, Dennis Hopper

I've heard it said (and have to agree) that George Clooney's satirical films (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Good Night, and Good Luck, Michael Clayton, Fail-safe) have a point of view but entertain us so much we don't realise.

If skirting the fine line between entertainment and lecture is a tricky benchmark filmmakers should aspire to, this film has planted a huge nail in the coffin of my respect for David Zucker, who's career has been one of diminishing returns for nearly three decades now since Flying High.

If you have something to say, David, write an essay. Don't jam it ham-fistedly into a narrative that fails to entertain and amuse (a somewhat glaring error in a comedy). It's not that I reject the staunch Republican standpoint of the movie. Because I don't agree doesn't mean I can't appreciate the freedom of expression art enables. But it has to be good art, and this tosh if so devoid of laughs it's painful.

Taking an overt, completely directed, completely open potshot at Michael Moore and his movies, the film introduces the klutzy, baseball cap-wearing, overweight, liberal progressive filmmaker Michael Malone (Farley, a pale imitation of his more famous but dead brother Chris) and plonks him in the middle of Dickens' tale as the ghosts of Republican figures past (Washington, Patton, etc) show him what life was like and would be like if the liberals have their way and the terrorists win.

I can only imagine Zucker got financing for this crap because of the recognisable names that signed on, and I can only imagine they did because they thought they'd be pushing their individual political conservatism with a like mind. Maybe they should have read the script first. Or if they did, maybe someone should have told them Zucker doesn't have a decent editor or much talent as a director left any more.

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