Sunday, September 6, 2009

Yet another reason to hate Manohla Dargis

I have never been a very big fan of NY Times film critic Manohla Dargis, but her review this week of Extract contains a doozy:
[Mike Judge's] 2006 comedy, “Idiocracy,” [is] about an average white guy who, after being put in a deep freeze, wakes up 500 years later to find that he’s the smartest person alive and that people are dumb as slugs, including the president, a “smackdown” champion (and an African-American). Mr. Judge’s most recent attack on the same subject is “Extract,” another big-screen comedy about an affable white guy, Joel (Jason Bateman, predictably pleasant), an Everyman and factory owner. 
Wait a minute... what?

Why, exactly, did Dargis just point out that the stars of Idiocracy and Extract are white and that the idiot POTUS in Idiocracy is black? (Later in the review, she mentions that the Latinos in Extract are sheep-like.) Is Dargis really implying that Mike Judge's movies are about white resentment? Or some sort of white superiority? Or the plight of the forgotten (white) man? Or that blacks and Latinos aren't very bright?

'Cause that seems to me to be the implication.

If you've never seen Idiocracy, I highly recommend you netflix it. (I also recommend Extract which I saw last night with reservations.) Flaws aside, Idiocracy is a hilarious little Rip Van Winkle story about a future dystopia in which smart people stop breeding until they're overwhelmed by dumb people. But whiteness and blackness never really factor in. It's true, the future president in black. And he's an idiot. But Dargis seems to forget that in the movie everybody in Idiocracy -- aside from its two stars -- is an idiot.

The two stars, who wake up 500 years after being frozen are Luke Wilson who, yes, is unmistakably white and (wait for it) Maya Rudolph.

This insinuation that Mike Judge is some kind of "white" filmmaker -- or that there's an undercurrent of racism to his work -- is really moronic.