Did Fox tamper with Idiocracy?
January 14, 2007 10:07 AM   Subscribe

I got my first chance to see Idiocracy last night, and I loved it, but I'm left wondering how well the film I watched reflects Mike Judge's intentions.

The most puzzling element to me was the intrusive and excessively literal narration, which frequently summarizes exactly what we just saw. I can't decide if this narration was forced onto the film by Fox executives pandering to simpleminded test audiences, or is Judge's parody of same, or some combination of the two. I've looked at a number of articles about the dumping of the film, including the Esquire interview, but nothing I've found so far seems to have the real scoop. There are also some indications that much more was left out of the film than the 4 minutes of deleted scenes on the DVD. Will there be a director's cut someday, or is this version it?
posted by Horace Rumpole to Media & Arts (9 answers total)
If it helps, I saw it in theaters, and I believe that narration was intact when I saw it.
posted by WCityMike at 10:31 AM on January 14, 2007

Funny, I saw the movie last night too, and like you found the narration to be INTENSELY annoying. My best guess is that it's a meta-joke, but I really could have done without it.
posted by myeviltwin at 11:02 AM on January 14, 2007

ha. To me it fit in perfectly with the other godawful aspects of the movie, which is to say, all of them.

Much as I am a fan of Mike Judge and would love to make excuses for him, he made an awful, mean-spirited, unfunny movie this time. I knew he was in trouble in the very first scene when it showed the "rednecks" having so many kids. Although this was one of the only laughs in the whole movie, it brought out right away how mean-spirited and disingenuous Judge was being by making this movie. Which is to say, "rednecks" are a safe target, but substitute black people or Mexicans in that scene and then see how people feel about it.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:31 AM on January 14, 2007 [2 favorites]

I reexamined the VO scenes after reading your comment and it appears that they didn't shoot the film with the VO in mind; it must have been decided upon in post production. For example, if you watch the scenes with the VO, they are clearly standard scenes with dialogue and action. I don't believe a director would have shot them like that if they were intended to be for a reflective montage / VO.

I think it's a device used to truncate the film for the Producers; it would have been too long if it included those scenes in full. To me it looks like a creative compromise that the Director/Producers/Editor agreed on. My guess is that the film probably worked as a 120min feature, but was too long for the Producers; then when they re-edited it to 90, it just didn't work. Therefore they brought in the VO to make the short version flow.

I don't believe the film's producers wouldn't have got the irony of explaining the narrative to a "dumb" audience, so it must be a self-aware parody.

I think the "fairytale" VO works as both a practical measure and because it adds a level of irony (albeit rather obvious). You see; a pimp's love is very different from that of a square...
posted by rocco at 11:47 AM on January 14, 2007

I almost did a post to the main page about this movie, and then I saw it and thought it sucked too much to discuss further.

I think the story of the movie is interesting because of Fox shitting all over it, but the movie itself? It's hard to imagine how any sort of directors cut could have improved it.

Basically, I think it was a semi-interesting idea, poorly executed.

That doesn't answer why Fox bagged it. Plenty Fox movies suck. But at this point, who cares? (Besides Maya Rudolph who was getting her first lead role here.)
posted by serazin at 11:59 AM on January 14, 2007

Judge isn't that great a writer, it's exposition, and it's in the narration as well as the character dialogue. It's his mistake.
posted by Napierzaza at 4:03 PM on January 14, 2007

Hmm, I also watched it last night. I didn't think the VO was too intrusive, but I did wonder about it. If it had been stripped out, it wouldn't have made any appreciable difference to the film.
posted by tomble at 4:25 PM on January 14, 2007

I thought the annoying voiceover was clearly intentional (present by design, intentionally talking down to the audience) and therefore meta-hilarious.

Agree that the movie was heavy-handed and mean-spirited. It must say something very unpleasant about me that I enjoyed it so much.
posted by enrevanche at 3:18 PM on January 15, 2007

The only part of the movie I liked was the Google sign that said Google cost $5 a day in the future and it reminded me that AT&T and Comcast will probally be able to charge for individual websites one day.
posted by matimer at 8:18 PM on January 30, 2007

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