‘An American Carol’ – A brave new world

‘An American Carol’ – A brave new world

Actors routinely use the word “brave” to describe a fellow actor’s performance or role selection.

Don’t believe them.

You want brave? How about making an unabashedly pro-American, anti-Michael Moore comedy to be released in the heat of election season? David Zucker’s “An American Carol” is the bravest film in a while, a movie that swims against the tide of 99 percent of what Hollywood exports.

But let’s not confuse brave with funny.

Zucker, the man who gave us “Airplane!” “The Naked Gun” and the brilliant TV series “Police Squad,” is too busy luxuriating in his conservative causes to make us double over with laughter.

“Carol” cleverly spins the classic Scrooge tale on its axis, casting Kevin Farley as a lefty filmmaker named Michael Malone out to squash Independence Day. Any resemblance to Moore is strictly intentional.

Malone’s latest anti-American rant has died at the theater, so he decides to work with a duo of Middle Eastern producers to fund his next project. The two are actually terrorists hoping Malone could make their next recruitment film.

Before Malone can step behind the camera he’s visited by the Ghosts of America’s past – Gen. Patton (Kelsey Grammer) George Washington (Jon Voight) and the Angel of Death (country star Trace Adkins).

Each tries to show Malone America’s virtues through historical snippets and chilling alternate realities. All three actors do standout work here, particularly Voight who has very little screen time but has gravitas to burn.

It’s all handled with the subtlety of an Ann Coulter column. Zucker’s stock in trade is obvious, sophomoric humor – why use a scalpel when a sledgehammer will do? – but that approach fails here.

“Carol” lacks the giddy, gag-a-minute template which energized movies like “The Naked Gun.” We’re asked to chuckle at routine slapstick far beneath Zucker’s best work.

A few inspired sequences do emerge, like a song-and-dance number mocking how colleges indoctrinate the young, and a smackdown of Rosie O’Donnell’s insipid comment that radical Christians are just as dangerous as radical Muslims.

“An American Carol” doesn’t deliver enough laughs, but it still ranks for its “shock and awe” value. Its content is so foreign to today’s movies that it feels like a major event even if it’s only a very minor comedy.

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‘Carol’ keeps critics at arm’s length

Let the Zucker bashing begin

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

DeeNo Gravatar October 4, 2008 at 8:11 pm

This movie is so boring and unfunny, it is pathetic! I saw several people leave within the 1st 30 mins. We left shortly after. My husband and I both demanded our money back! We loved the old airplane movies but this movie is just plain stupid and full of HATE! Yech!!!!

cftotoNo Gravatar October 4, 2008 at 9:43 pm

Thanks for your feedback, Dee. I found the content alone fascinating — it’s rare to see blatantly conservative messages in a movie. But you gotta entertain at the same time.

KNo Gravatar October 4, 2008 at 10:44 pm

This movie is so boring and unfunny, it is pathetic!

Dee is obviously an Obamaton. I couldn’t recommend this movie for those folks. For one thing the emergence from the uniform monolithic leftist dark POV of virtually all politically themed movies these days may burn the eyes when the light of truth is encountered.

Where I hail from in the OC, it was received pretty well. The theater was near full and the laughter often and loud. The ending was greated with applause. Hunger really is the best sauce as they say and when you’ve been starving for something that’s not the usual thin liberal gruel it was a feast indeed.

DonNo Gravatar October 17, 2008 at 9:01 pm

I am not sure if Dee is an obamaton but I am not and I thought the film was poorly done with some very superficial humor or attempts at such. We were looking forward to a great spoof film on Michael Moore because of Shawn Hannity’s recommendation but it was so poorly done that much of the spoof didn’t come through. Some of the laughter we heard came from a guy behind us who also laughed heartily at the movie previews. I guess my wife and I just didn’t get it.

JokerNo Gravatar November 5, 2008 at 5:54 pm

Lefty or no I want a movie that brings the funny. I thought Team America World Police was Sophomoric but it was pretty funny on it’s attacks on both left and right for the political spectrum. The problem was that Carol wasn’t funny. It looked like someone just had an endless clip of Micheal Moore falling down a flight of stairs, that might amuse some people but to me it’s sorta stupid. I have no interest in watching W for the same reason. I might be liberal but a movie that mindlessly bashes isn’t satire and isn’t funny.

cftotoNo Gravatar November 5, 2008 at 6:02 pm

Team America sure did bring the funny, Joker, proving political humor can smack both parties upside the head. Too bad “Carol” didn’t rise anywhere near that level.

FederoyNo Gravatar November 8, 2008 at 2:30 am

“Where I hail from in the OC, it was received pretty well. The theater was near full and the laughter often and loud. The ending was greated with applause.”

The film was as funny as watching a stray dog urinate on a tombstone. I’m a hugh fan of Zucker’s Naked Gun films (Given the Zuckster’s conservative leanings, now I know why he pretrayed the pre-f*ck-up OJ with such over-the-top buffoonary, a la Step & Fetchin.) OC? As in Orange County or Oklahoma City? Doesn’t matter, the dumbing down of America has certainly left its mark on both places, so it’s little wonder this mess of a film was so delightfully received in your neck of the woods, nevermind that the film has been universally panned by the critics and only generated a barely visible, pultry $7 million domestically. Given how right-center America leans, it’s says alot about how poorly crafted Carol’s content is even though it targets deeply held sentiments against the left in mainstream America.

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