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American Dreamz (PG-13)

Release Date: April 21st, 2006 by Universal Pictures.
The Cast: Hugh Grant, Dennis Quaid, Mandy Moore, Chris Klein, Marcia Gay Harden, Jennifer Coolidge, Sam Golzari, Shohreh Aghdahloo, John Cho, Willem Dafoe.
Directed by Paul Weitz.

BASIC PREMISE: Martin Tweed (Grant) hosts “American Dreamz”, a popular television singing-contest show that includes a variety of young contestants including Sally Kendoo (Moore) and Omer (Golzari) as well as a guest appearance by the President Stanton (Quiad).

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Despite a great ensemble cast, American Dreamz looses a lot of its comic steam too early leaving not much else to savor. This satire pokes fun at George W. Bush and “American Idol”, it repeats over and over and gradually become too absurd and far-fetched. Mandy Moore channels Britney Spears through her role of Sally while Dennis Quiad channels George W. Bush in his performance as dim-witted President Stanton. Out of the entire cast, Willem Dafoe gives the most convincing performance as Vice President Sutter, a Dick Cheney-look-alike. Sutter convinces Stanton to appear on “American Dreamz” to boost his approval rate. Meanwhile, Martin Tweed, the show’s host, searches for unique singers, such as Sally, who comes from a Midwestern home and Omer, an Iraqi who also happens to be friends with terrorists in Iraq. Also, Sally’s ex-boyfriend (Klein) comes back with an injury from the army, gets back together with her, and agrees to propose to her on the show. Writer/director Paul Weitz assembles all of these subplots in such an uneven, contrived way, it’s hard to believe he had written and directed About a Boy, a much funnier and well-directed film that looks like a masterpiece compared to this headache-inducing mess.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Redundant satire and an over-the-top, messy plot. Not enough of Willem Dafoe.


IN A NUTSHELL: An over-the-top, dull satire with a messy plot and simply not enough laughs.


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