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
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
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????
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 Blonde: EXCUSE ME MAV, BUT ARE YOU PUTTING DOWN
OUR BELOVED PRESIDENT?
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
The Maven: I think, quite possibly, you are
the ONLY person in America, or perhaps the world, who would ask that
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
The Maven: Yeah, but look who she is
married to. Let her have the 2 OLD BAGS!
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
The Maven: No, and get off my
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
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
The Maven: Yeah, where did you go?
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
The Blonde: UMM… WHAT?
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.
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,
The Maven: What did you expect him
to say? He is after all a perverted con man.
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
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
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
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!