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Apr 28, 2006
 American Dreamz—Or When Art Mirrors Life
 by The Blonde and The Maven

Paul Weitz (In Good Company and About a Boy) wrote, directed and produced American Dreamz. He was inspired when he was thinking about unfulfilled dreams. We all have them. Supposedly, that is what drives us. The country, as a whole, has reached superpower status. "Is achieving a dominant status in the world, the final step, before moral and political decline for a society?" From that thought came a film about our preoccupation with a certain talent show and the influence it has to command our attention above all else.

First, we have President Staton who has just won a reelection. He seems to be in the throes of a nervous breakdown. All he wants to do is to stay in bed and read the newspaper. This is something he never does, as he usually depends on briefings for all his information. The president is played by Dennis Quaid (The Alamo and In Good Company). His manipulative Chief of Staff is played by Willem Defoe (Inside Man and The Clearing) and he is alarmed by his boss behavior. Dont be concerned with the fact that this character looks an awfully lot like Dick Cheney, its just a coincidence! In order to repair the damage of the President’s lack of personal appearances and his growing downward spiral to his approval ratings, the Chief of Staff decides to book the President on the talent show "American Dreamz" as a guest judge. The show has taken the country by storm with ratings through the roof. The host of “American Dreamz” is Martin Tweed, played by Hugh Grant (Bridget Jones’ Diary and About a Boy). He is a self aggrandizing, self loathing, Brit with a tendency to be blunt. He is unhappy with the boring contestants he has seen lately and directs his staff to recruit some bizarre guests. The staff finds Sally Kendoo, played by Mandy Moore (Chasing Liberty and A Walk to Remember), a conniving steel magnolia who can actually sing. Then they find Sholem, an orthodox cantor who sings hip/hop and rap songs. To round out the bizarre finds, there is Omar, portrayed by Sam Golzari, who is a bumbling, show tune singing, would-be terrorist. Throw in Sallys veteran ex-boyfriend and Omars swishy cousin, who also auditioned for the show, and you have the makings of a funny movie. Oh! Dont forget Omars Uncle, who heads a terrorist camp and enlists Omar to detonate a bomb near the President on the show.

The Blonde: Well, this hoot of a movie was like “American Idol” meets our President and First Lady meets Simon meets Iraq meets Kelly Clarkson, Clay and Bo Bice meets “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” I really had a fun time watching this film. I think I am a little embarrassed to say, I really liked it (as far as silly films go)!
The Maven: I too enjoyed the silliness of this film. Only in Hollywood could a TV reality show be the focus for a terrorist plot and a Presidential visit. Add in a gay, middle eastern Paula Abdul wanna-be, a Hasidic hip/hop singer, and an ambitious, heartless female Britney wanna-be and you’ve got a silly movie! But let’s face it, we have a “situation” going on for real in Iraq and most TV sets are tuned to “American Idol.”  Look at the amount of people who call in to vote!

The Blonde: I enjoyed the characters. They were so well defined for a frivolous movie. The gay guy Ali Riza, played by Jay Harik, stole this film as far as I am concerned. He was so perfect. I am not a huge Dennis Quaid fan (well accept for his performance in Frequency and I never could see adorable Meg Ryan with him), but he played the President perfectly. Readers, here is a little warning. If you are a George and Laura supporter, you will want to miss this film. On the other hand, if this is not one of your favorite Presidents, you will love it! I really liked seeing Willem Defoe. He played such a different role with such a different physical appearance than his norm. He cracked me up how well he played such a right wing kind of guy… Let’s see now, do you think he was mirroring Dick Cheney???? DA?????
The Maven: Sure looked like it to me, and that’s why they call me the MAVEN! I’m not a Quaid fan either, but this is the first time he played an empty-headed idiot!
The Maven: NOOO… I would NEVER do that! Hugh Grant’s preening, self-loathing, way too honest TV reality host was ingenious. I like him so much more this way, then the bumbling well-meaning guy he usually plays. However, Simon Cowell, HE IS NOT! Simon is far from self-loathing and he doesn’t even host the show.
The Blonde: Now, who is SIMON again?!
The Maven: I think, quite possibly, you are the ONLY person in America, or perhaps the world, who would ask that question.
The Blonde: I always enjoy Grant’s performances and this one is no different! Okay, I need to get back to Laura Bush… I have a bone to pick with her. Remember when Louis Vuitton came out with that half leopard and half black colorful LV purse? Well, I was on the waiting list for eight months and, when mine finally came in, they called telling me they gave it to Laura instead. I said to the salesgirl, “How could you do this to me?” to which she replied, “Well it is the First Lady of the United States,” to which I replied, “Do I look like I am impressed or even care?” Ladies, when it comes to a designer bag, First Ladies should get in line tooooo!!!!! I will never forgive her for that loss. I LOVED THAT PURSE!
The Maven: Yeah, but look who she is married to. Let her have the 2 OLD BAGS!
The Blonde: Ahh, let me think a minute…No! She can keep the one! I want my purse back. By the way Mav, have you gotten your long overdue mammogram yet?
The Maven: No, and get off my back!
The Blonde: No! Breast cancer is a serious issue! I AM WORRIED ABOUT YOU AND YOUR HEALTH!
The Maven: My heath is just fine and why does any of this have to do with American Dreamz?
The Blonde: Well, were talking about boobs just different kinds! It reminded me to ask you. Mav you REALLY need to check yours out! I just got my FREE breast exam this week.
The Maven: Yeah, where did you go?

The Blonde: A nice, kind, humanitarian doctor was going door to door in Florida giving women free breast exams. I have to say, I was very impressed with how thorough he was.
The Maven: Oh, you dumb BLONDE! Was that the guy they were talking about on the news that they just arrested for pretending to be a doctor?
The Blonde: UMM… WHAT?
The Maven: They arrested a man for impersonating a doctor and going door to door to give breast exams because he stated that he was concerned about the rise of breast cancer in women.
The Blonde: Well… a breast exam is a breast exam! Not to mention very important nowadays to keep a BREAST OF, and he did say that I have perfect, healthy breasts!!!!
The Maven: What did you expect him to say? He is after all a perverted con man.
The Blonde: Oh…you are so jealous and negative! Speaking of blonde, I think Mandy Moore looks much better as a blonde! OH MAN, I sent that guy to my mother’s house!
The Maven: Don’t worry! Your mom won’t answer the door if she doesn’t know who is standing there. She’s the poster lady for paranoia. Yes, Mandy does look good as a blonde, but is that really what is important? Have you nothing to say about her as an actress and a singer?
The Blonde: I really think she looks better as a blonde! Anyway, what’s up with Tomcat and Brangelina? Where are the paparazzi when you want them?
The Maven: Nobody’s getting married, but they are ALL having babies! In case you haven’t heard, Tom and Katie had a little girl…VERY QUIETLY!
The Blonde: Now, how the heck is that done? They heard me screaming in Brooklyn and I delivered in Boca!
The Maven: NO…that is when you were making the baby! You weren’t as bad in delivery! Let’s finish American Dreamz. Since I am a Hugh Grant fan, I enjoyed this movie. It’s not an intelligent script by any means. While it is not a shark tongued satire, some of it farcical elements do hit the mark. The lampooning of George and Laura is very watered down and not too insulting, much. I rate it a C for it’s competent send up of “American Idol,” and I hope to see more of Hugh Grant as a rake in future films.
The Blonde: What does a garden tool have to do with Hugh? I don’t get it? I had a ball watching this ridiculous movie. This was not rocket science filmmaking, but it is what going to the movies should be about… FUN! I rate it a B-. For your film snacks go back to the basics and munch on some all American popcorn. Hey Laura, I WANT MY PURSE BACK!


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