Mike Judge is one of the leading American chroniclers of idiocy. With Beavis and Butthead he put up mirror to the issue of losing a generation to MTV. In interviews Judge is softly spoken and often serious about his work, especially Beavis and Butthead. He claims that he sees a prevalence of idiocy and of people who are happy to be idiots. He expanded this into the workplace with the slow-burning hit Office Space, which despite initially failing managed to find its audience on DVD in spectacular style, at one point entering 20th Century Fox’s top 20 DVD sales chart back in 2003. Idiocracy isn’t quite as subtle as Office Space. In fact it isn’t subtle at all. The satire in this is so obvious that it is almost a parody of itself.
Luke Wilson is Private Joe Bauers of the US Army. He is so average in every way that it is decided that to put him forward as a test subject to be cryogenically stored. When the experiment is forgotten about Joe wakes up 500 years in the future where he discovers that, due to a kind of reverse evolution, he is the smartest man alive.
This is Beavis and Butthead territory, Judge is just blankly holding up a mirror to society and asking it to take a long hard look at itself and its blithe acceptance of advertising, insipid and degrading television and crooked soundbite politics. It has a few laughs and Luke Wilson’s gentle charm carries the whole thing easily but this doesn’t hold a candle to the excellent Office Space and it seems unlikely that Judge will ever be able to re-capture the zeitgeist the way he did with Beavis and Butthead. But I hope he continues to chronicle the dumb because it continues to be entertaining.