THE NEW SEASON OF 'AMERICAN DREAMZ', THE WILDLY POPULAR TV SINGING CONTEST, HAS CAPTURED THE COUNTRY'S ATTENTION, AS THE COMPETITION LOOKS TO BE BETWEEN A YOUNG A YOUNG MIDWESTERN GAL & A SHOW TUNES-LOVING YOUNG MAN FROM O... more »RANGE COUNTY.« less
I hated it. I thought it was totally lame & unfunny, exaggerated, over the top, filled with characters it was impossible to care about. Maybe if you like reality competition shows, it's funny, but not even for Hugh Grant & Dennis Quaid would I suffer all the way through this movie.
3 of 5 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jen H. from ROME, GA Reviewed on 5/7/2010...
If you're looking for a brainless cheesy movie, this ones's for you!
1 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Peter Q. (Petequig) Reviewed on 2/8/2010...
3 of 5 member(s) found this review helpful.
Heather F. (8izenuff) from PHOENIX, AZ Reviewed on 1/6/2009...
There are alot of copies in this system, but if you have ever wanted to see this YES it was very worth ordering. All three main stars so an excellent job. I totally agree with the other two reviews.
7 of 8 member(s) found this review helpful.
Melissa G. from CANAL FULTON, OH Reviewed on 8/26/2008...
Hugh Grant channels Simon and Dennis Quaid does a perfect President Bush impersonation in this funny "Washington Goes to American Idol" movie.
6 of 6 member(s) found this review helpful.
Suzanne B. Reviewed on 7/15/2008...
excellent spoof/parody of both American Idol and George Bush's presidency. very, very entertaining --i loved this movie.
6 of 6 member(s) found this review helpful.
American Dreamz is an American Doze
!Edwin C. Pauzer | New York City | 06/09/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This is barely a spiffy spoof on American culture and politics that might be all too close to a current TV show called "American Idol." Hugh Grant is a producer of the wildly successful "American Dreamz." He is professionally engaging and personally shallow, self-centered, and sleazy.
On the other side of the globe is an uncoordinated, two-left-footed terrorist in training whose mother was killed by an American bomb. Unfortunately, he loves American show tunes, and is caught by the silhouette of the light in his tent, dancing to one of them. His commanders decide that he will never be of any use, and order him to go to America as a sleeper agent. He is to take up residence with his aunt, uncle and two cousins. They plan on letting him sleep for a long time.
Then there is the President of the United States, played by Steven Quaid. He is a bone-headed, numbskull who gets everything he is supposed to say from his chief of staff, played by Willem Defoe. One morning he has the revelation that everything is not just black and white, and he goes on a reading frenzy beginning with the NY Times. He stays in the residence for weeks, just reading.
Mandy Moore is a blond, blue-eyed Karaoke singer from Anywhere, Ohio, and she definitely wants to become an American Dreamz Princess. She jilts her boyfriend as she finds out that she is selected for the show. The jilted beau decides to join the army where he is given only two weeks training before he finds himself in Iraq, where he gets shot in his tattooed arm that bears the name of his ex-girlfriend. He returns home to express his undying devotion to her.
(If you need to take a break from reading this review, I will understand).
Chief of staff, Willem Defoe decides to get the president out of his reading lethargy by booking him as a judge on "American Dreamz." American Dreamz Dream Team do their producer's bidding to find someone who is more ethnic than the average American. They should find someone from the middle east who they will ensure gets to the finals. And who do they discover practicing on his cousin's set in the basement of his aunt and uncle's California home? You guessed it!
Now the terrorists find their opportunity to strike at the clod of the United States. Will the sleeper terrorist who is love-struck with the American culture strap himself with a bomb, and blow up the president, or judge?
You'll have to see the movie to find out.
The acting is excellent and Hugh Grant deviates from his usual role as a sensitive, bumbling, loveable guy to heartless, intolerable creep.
As for actually seeing this movie, it's kind of a bomb. (Sorry, bad choice of words).
Take a nice nap instead."
"BAD is such a nebulous word"
Kevin J. Loria | New Orleans, LA USA | 05/01/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Writer/director Paul Weitz (AMERICAN PIE , ABOUT a BOY) hits us with his new film American Dreamz satirizes the White House incompetence, the flaws in the "war on terror" and the idiocy of TV's "American Idol." Weitz uses these easy targets for send-ups, while (again) attempting to make us like stupid and unlikable characters. While this worked in ABOUT a BOY and his AMERICAN PIE series of films, it is awkward at best, and he has greatest success with his show tune loving-would-be-terrorist, OMER. Let me explain...
...the story begins when President Staton (Dennis Quaid) wakes up one morning and decides, for the first time, to read the newspaper. He awakens to the possibilities of an outside world. Meanwhile, the self-absorbed host of TV's talent contest "American Dreamz," Martin Tweed (Hugh Grant), about to start another season, he demands to have an Arab represented on the show. His call is answered by, Omer (Sam Golzari), a less than enthusiastic terrorist "sleeper" dumped for incompetence and sent to the U.S. to live with family waiting for his orders. The future "American Dreamz" winner, Sally Kendoo (Mandy Moore), callously prepares for her future in showbiz by keeping her dim ex-boyfriend (Chris Klein) only to win votes. Willem Dafoe as a Cheney-looking Vice President, works to get the President, & the States, back under control, give Staton "happy pills" and making him wear an earpiece when speaking in public. As part of a PR blitz the President will make a guest appearance on "American Dreamz" in a painfully contrived connecting of characters. Weitz spends much of the movie attempting to humanizing these quirky stereotypes, the President starts to look like a nice, but spaced-out guy, along with the First-lady (Marcia Gay Harden), while even the shallow Sally and cynical Martin are revealed to be lonely behind their Hollywood facades.
In the end the movie falls short, after all the character tinkering Weitz fails to make a cohesive story. He supplies lots of interesting performances and interesting characters like: Tony Yalda as Iqbal, the flamboyantly gay cousin who helps with Omer's TV image; Jennifer Coolidge as Sally Mom, Chris Klein as Sally's boyfriend, Dafoe's VP has some great scene with the Staton as does Sam Golzari as the "Omerizing" contestant who may or may not win or blow-up the Prez. The movie's strength lies in the bashing of iconic sterotypes, from TV and from the general public, more concerned with reality TV voting than voting in a presidential election, in fact it is the movie's tagline. Another strength of the film is the energy used pointing out items made off limits for questioning or discussion, no matter how obvious, like the President blurting out that the War was a bad idea. But I expected more from this one, given the talent behind the project.
"I think I'm Omar-sexual."
Mike Zimmerman | Danville, PA United States | 11/25/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"President Joseph Staton (Dennis Quaid) sees the world as a fairly black-and-white place, but a glance at the daily headlines on the eve of his reelection leaves the most powerful man in the free world shaken to the very core. Upon reading this, Staton locks himself in his bedroom boning up on information, which causes concern for his chief of staff (Willem Dafoe) and first lady/wife (Marcia Gay Harden). Eventually, Staton finds himself booked on his favorite show, "American Dreams", hosted by the cynical Martin Tweed (Hugh Grant). The event is in favor of two contestants, Sally Kendoo (Many Moore) and Omer (Sam Golzari). But one of them has a dark secret that will ensure a season finale no one will soon forget.
With "American Dreams," Paul Weitz is finding himself in a new direction. Known for movies about getting past first base ("American Pie"), childish adults who want kids ("About a Boy"), and wounded egos in the workplace ("In Good Company"), the director is now moving into satirical comedy. Sure, we've been down this road before (on "SNL" and "MadTV"), but with a potent comedy agenda and good talent involved, "American Dreamz" manages to entertain.
Recently, critics are after this movie because of some poor satirical targets, such as "American Idol" and the fact that our president is a boob. Agreed, because we had "MadTV," "South Park," "Saturday Night Live," and a dozen other shows that have tackled these subjects. Of course, it doesn't help matters if you have overexposed "SNL" celeb Seth Meyers in your cast (though he does bring up a funny Britney Spears reference). And the movie takes a downfall when it reaches dramatic portions, such as terrorists forcing Omer to blow himself and the president up.
Weitz does get help from his cast. Like with all his recent movies, "Dreamz" benefits from a strong ensemble cast. The highlight of this movie is former(?) teen pop starlet Mandy Moore. She fills her character with naivet? charms (think Piper Perabo of "Coyote Ugly" without all the lame clich?d drama), and some doses of humor. It's very good stuff.
Rounding out the cast is some familiar Weitz cast members - Dennis Quaid puts a southern drawl for Staton, Hugh Grant is wonderfully cynical as Martin Tweed, and Chris Klein is always up for a laugh as Sally's b/f. It's a shame the same can't be said for John Cho, Jennifer Coolidge, Judy Greer, Marcia Gay Harden, and others, as none of them have a lot to do in this movie.
"Dreamz" kind of runs in the similar category as any "SNL" Weekend Update you've seen: sophomoric play-it-safe potshots at the president, making you wonder if Tina Fey was uncredited with writing the screenplay. Still, if your cast has some likable talent like Grant, Moore, and Quaid, maybe it doesn't matter that much. And Willem Dafoe's good as the Dick Cheney look-a-like, so why complain?"
Michael T. Caughey | VA BEach | 05/01/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Perhaps one of the worst movies ever made. For a comedy, I only laughed perhaps twice in two hours. I thought it would be a funny send up of American Idol. It wasn't. But it was painfully slow, dull, and boring, and perhaps that's why a week after it opened there were only 10 people in the entire theatre besides the three of us. Dennis Quaid wasn't funny, Hugh Grant wasn't funny, and really I wish I had left and asked for a refund. It's amazing how a movie like that can make it to the screen. I would have done better to watch Dave again with Kevin Kleine. This movie was an American travesty from start to finish!"
"Not much about American Dreamz worked for me as it should have, unless the point was an unfocused, mostly unfunny and non-entertaining film that tries to demonstrate the cliché that truth is stranger than fiction. It doesn't work as a spoof, it doesn't work as a slightly humorous critical commentary on anything, and it doesn't work as a purely fantastical story.
The aim seems to have been a spoof of the television show "American Idol", of George W. Bush, of militant Islamism, and very slightly of American culture in general. That's the first problem. American Dreamz tries to do too many things. There are too many disparate threads that not only are never quite woven together, but many are left by the wayside. For much of its length, it feels like we're bouncing back and forth among a number of different films, and because of this, nothing has a chance to develop very well. Many good actors are more or less wasted. Because of the too varied structure, even some stars who get a relatively significant amount of screen time are wasted. For example, while the Bush spoof usually doesn't work very well as a spoof, Dennis Quaid's portrayal of the dim-witted and odd President Staton is often interesting and occasionally funny, but he's just not in the film enough; if the story had been focused almost exclusively on President Staton, it might have been successful.
The American Idol spoof material fails for three reasons:
One, Hugh Grant can't carry the role. He has to function as the three American Idol judges (with a strong emphasis on Simon Cowell) and host Ryan Seacrest all rolled into one. It requires a maybe impossibly complex and conflicted character, with Grant barely scratching the surface. Of course, it doesn't help that like everyone else, he has to fight for screen time with too many different stories.
Two (and this shows another reason why too many threads was a bad idea), for one aspect of the American Idol spoof material, writer/director Paul Weitz errs on the side of making his focus too narrow. There aren't enough contestants to follow, and the funneling down of the judges and host into one person fails in theory, too. Part of what makes American Idol work is that we get to know a number of different personalities by way of seeing the same contestants over many weeks, and of course by getting to know and watch the interesting combination of judge and host personalities. In American Dreamz, it's as if there are really only two contestants (with a later addition of one cardboard cutout contestant who is good for a couple jokes), and again because of the poor structure, we hardly get to know them. Having only two contestants and one host/judge doesn't seem like a good idea any way you slice it.
Three, and this may be the most important one, American Dreamz is never as funny, ridiculous, bizarre, sad, poignant or inspiring as American Idol can be throughout the course of a season.
The militant Islamism and general American culture stuff suffers primarily from being severely underdeveloped. Enough of the material set in and concerning the militant camp overseas is kinda funny, but there's just not much of it in the film. And the general American culture spoof is so wispy that it's difficult to say if it was even an intention.
Of course, as a spoof, the point is not to approximate qualities and facts of the real-world material being spoofed. And too many threads wouldn't have to be a bad thing. I love the Scary Movie films. They definitely get a lot "wrong" about what they're spoofing, and the ridiculous alternation of many different stories is part of what makes them work. But when the material that you're spoofing is far funnier and more weird/bizarre than your spoof, it's difficult to even consider your work to be in that genre. Furthermore, if your work is intended as a (cultural) critique, that can't function correctly when the stuff you're critiquing is transparently far more complex and nuanced than your critique. And for just straight-ahead entertainment, which seems like maybe it was the point on some of the American Idol spoof material, such as a couple of the songs, neither the songs nor the performances were anywhere near as good or enjoyable as the worst night on American Idol, and that can get pretty bland.
I'm not one to usually agree with the following, but this case is an exception: it seems like Weitz didn't have a clear idea of what he wanted to accomplish with this film. He needed to pick one basic idea--a spoof of President Bush, a critique of the office of the Presidency, an absurdist look at militant Islamism, a cynical film about American Idol . . . whatever, and commit to it. As American Dreamz stands, there is only a collection of half-baked and half-realized ideas mucking about in a chaotic jumble with maybe accidental moments (although maybe not accidental as they tend to be when Weitz pushes absurdist comic material) that reach their potential. Hardly recommendable.
Think for a moment about hit pop records. They can be spoofed/parodied/satirized effectively--just listen to some Weird Al Yankovich. But American Dreamz, rather than taking that road, seems to me like those old K-Tel versions of pop songs (the ones with "Not the original artists" in tiny writing on the bottom near the copyright data). It's just a pale imitation of the real thing, with not much to say about the original that we didn't already know, and certainly not more entertaining than the original, but rather more vacuous, where the producers seem to have not quite understood what made the originals work, and neither do they try to do anything different with the material."