• PG-13, 1 hr. 34 min.
  • Comedy
  • Directed By:
    David Zucker
    In Theaters:
    Oct 3, 2008 Wide
    On DVD:
    Dec 30, 2008
  • Vivendi Entertainment

Opening

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An American Carol Reviews

Page 1 of 47
ScoopOnline
ScoopOnline

Super Reviewer

December 13, 2009
ZuckNuckle my Man!

Laugh like your Country depends on it.

WARNING! This movie may be offensive to children, young people, old people, in-the-middle people, some people on the right, all people on the left, terrorists, pacifists, war-mongers, fish mongers, Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, agnostics (though you'd have to prove it to them), the ACLU, liberals, conservatives, neo-cons, ex-cons, future cons, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarian, people of color, people of no color, English speakers, English-as-a-second language speakers, non-speakers, men, women, more women, & Ivy League professors. Native Americans should be okay!
boxman
boxman

Super Reviewer

January 10, 2009
[font=Arial][color=DarkRed]Being a conservative in Hollywood is like being a gay Republican - tough business. Director David Zucker has a notable history with comedy, having helmed [i]Airplane![/i], the [i]Naked Gun[/i] series, and the back half of the [i]Scary Movie[/i]s. He says that he converted to conservatism in the wake of 9/11, and Zucker actually wrote and directed a short for the 2004 Republican National Convention that was deemed too edgy for the Grand Old Party. Conservatives have also garnered the reputation for not having the best sense of humor, and Zucker's [i]An American Carol[/i] will do little to change this belief.

Michael Malone (Kevin Farley) is an egotistical, fat, liberal documentary filmmaker whose latest work is titled, "Die You American Pigs." Catchy, ain't it? Malone wants to abolish the Fourth of July (would we just skip to July 5th?) and plans to protest a Trace Adkins concert for the troops. A batch of inept Islamic terrorists want to bomb the concert and decide into tricking Malone into assisting their goal. He will score them media passes to get onstage at the concert venue. Following the Charles Dickens' playbook, Malone is first visited by the spirit of his idol, John F. Kennedy (Chriss Anglin), who horrifies Malone by saying war is sometimes necessary (really, conservatives are trying to reclaim Kennedy?). Three spirits will visit him although he spends almost all of his time with the ghost of General Patton (Kelsey Grammer). The ghostly general takes Malone on a trip to see what the alternative versions of U.S. history had the country avoided war at all costs. Malone stays defiant until he meets up with the Angel of Death (also Trace Adkins, because??) and sees the error of his "America-hating" ways. I don't want to spoil things too much but the movie ends with an expanded Trace Adkins concert saluting the brave men and women in the armed forces.

Some from the opposing political viewpoints will find [i]An American Carol [/i]to be infuriating. To those angry few I say get over it, because this movie is simply too lazy to get angry over. It barely reaches 77 minutes before the credits roll. Zucker and company tend to stretch their canvas too broadly, to the point that they aren't exaggerating to lampoon but setting up cheap jokes. Michael Malone is fat. Michael Malone smells. Michael Malone falls down. Liberals hate America and want the terrorists to win. It's so easy to write this material because there's nothing topical or nuanced or even socially relevant. The movie beats reliable figures of conservative agita. When the movie tries to slam college professors as being dippy hippies brainwashing teens about the insurmountable ills of America, it just gets dumb (those people spend 10-15 years studying in a specialized academic field). There is no teeth to any of this satire because it's all just recycled caricatures with the wit ground down. There isn't anything of true satirical substance here. I don't even get some of the satire, like the ACLU is depicted as a cluster of zombies with briefcases. What does that mean? Needless to say, the skewering of Arabs is mostly cartoonish and offensive. The flick constantly makes fun of the documentary art form, saying they are inferior to "real movies." Because Michael Moore has an Oscar does that mean that the history of documentary film has to be slandered as being nothing more than transparent propaganda (at an awards ceremony, the top documentary is honored with the "Leni Riefenstahl Award")? Marginalizing an entire art form seems rash, especially considering that Moore's [i]Fahrenheit 9/11[/i] grossed over $220 million worldwide. As of this writing, [i]An American Carol[/i], a "real movie," has grossed seven million and counting.

The film deals in distasteful absolutes. Every idea is presented crudely in black and white. By the film's standards, being anti-war and anti-troops are inseparably linked. In my mind, and this might be crazy, but it seems to me that the most pro-troops one could be would be hoping for them all to return home alive and healthy. [i]An American Carol[/i] attempts to justify the ongoing War in Iraq, though it conveniently only ever flashes to combat in Afghanistan, the war that a majority of the public agrees with. It makes a case that war is sometimes necessary, though it has to flash back to Hitler and World War II to find a morally justified military engagement that everyone can feel god about. I agree that war is sometimes a reasonable option, but the movie paints all pacifists as wimpy appeasers. George Washington (Jon Voight) even steps in at one point to argue for the necessity of war in reference to the War on Terror. Did the filmmakers forget that Washington spent great expense to keep the nation out of foreign wars in his two terms? Isn't it also condescending and objectionable to have Washington say freedom of speech is misused when it goes against the government? I think the Founding Fathers would realize the importance of freedom of speech, including offensive speech. Isn't it also somewhat ironic to use slave-owners as mouthpieces for the merits of freedom? [i]An American Carol[/i] says that disagreement is the same as dissent; so refusing to support one's government blindly during a time of war is traitorous. Criticism is not anti-American. It's insulting to all rationale human beings. Zucker and crew make their case look just as myopic and dismissive as those they choose to ridicule.

The acting neither hinders nor helps the material. Farley is a game comedian but he cannot do much with such lightweight material. There are several celebrity cameos including James Woods, Dennis Hopper, Bill O'Reilly, Mary Hart, David Alan Grier, Gary Coleman, Leslie Nielsen, Zachary Levi, Kevin Sorbo, and Paris Hilton. When Zucker is calling favors into the likes of Paris Hilton, you know things cannot be solid.

Here's the problem. It's hard to satirize from a conservative point of view. Conservatism believes that the status quo is best or that things were better back in the day. Liberalism believes that society can always improve, so a liberal point of view would tweak the present situation in order to call attention to remaining improvements. A conservative point of view would make fun of that possible change. This is the same reason why documentaries, like it or not, typically have a more progressive bent, and it's because the filmmakers are presenting a case for change or outrage. Why would anyone devote himself or herself for years to create a film that says the world is peachy? Now I'm not saying that conservatism and humor are conflicting concepts, but it just makes it harder to be smarter. Making fun of [i]Good Night, and Good Luck[/i] is not trying hard enough. How dare George Clooney make a film about the media cowering and failing to question our elected leaders and have it be applicable to today's world.

The Zucker gag-a-minute spoof style doesn't necessarily translate well to political satire. I wasn't expecting much with [i]An American Carol[/i]. When they exploit 9/11, taking Malone to the wreckage of the World Trade Center to make its case, well the movie stops being a satire and just implodes. It hits its tired targets with a sledgehammer. The satire is extremely lazy, the slapstick is dumb, and the movie specializes in being obnoxious, coloring the world in two extremes. This isn't satire. This is just cheap and petty. Seriously, making fun of Michael Moore is like four years too late. Moore is a figure worthy of satire but the best that the movie can come up with is he's fat and hates America? That he's angry because he couldn't get girls when he was younger and all those studly military recruits did? That's not satire, that's just excessive name-calling. [i]An American Carol [/i]presents a new low for Zucker and I think even he knows it. On the DVD commentary track, Zucker, co-writer Lewis Friedman ([i]BASEketball[/i]), and actor Kevin Farley basically lambaste the final product, often criticizing their own movie. The derisive commentary track is more enjoyable than the film itself.

Nate's Grade: C-[/color][/font]
Daniel D

Super Reviewer

December 9, 2011
I thought this was a really funny movie, why all the criticism?
Alex M

Super Reviewer

July 24, 2011
Mildly funny. Not awful, but not that good either.
As far as the message goes, it's as ridiculous as, well, one of Michael Moore's movies.
xxdebxx
xxdebxx

Super Reviewer

May 15, 2010
This movie has more than its share of stupid, slapstick scenes but really what else would you expect from a movie with Leslie Nielsen? The plot is based loosely on three spirits visiting a scrooge type (Michael Malone) like in a Christmas Carol. The question is: can they make this clowd that wants to ban the Fourth of July see the light and come to appreciate real American values? The movie makes fun of everything and everyone, from terrorist training videos to the Rosie O'Connell segment. Politics aside, this movie is hilarious and definitely worth seeing.
Philip P

Super Reviewer

January 3, 2009
I watched the first twenty minutes of this with some friends and they didnt seem to enjoy it so much, so we turned it off, but I was interested enough and watched the entire film later on. Im not usually one for this kind of stupid humor and it was really dumb at points but it made up for it with some moments of pure hilarity. The best moment is the musical number about college professors and how they believe they are elite. All the points made had a quality to them that if you did not agree you would genuinley feel dumb. It was a nice, quick little satire, the best of these recent parodies that have little to do with what they are poking fun at. This wasnt making fun just for the sake of its subjects popularity, it had something to say, and was actually funny about it at times.
William G

Super Reviewer

October 26, 2008
As witless and tactless as anything 2008 has offered up to date.
Jon O

Super Reviewer

October 5, 2008
Some of the film's more effective jokes are drowned out by its chorus of political messages. But when it's at its most chaotic, it's damn funny.
chadroesti
chadroesti

Super Reviewer

October 24, 2008
Liberal and Left wing bashing movie - basically a Michael Moore movie about Michael Moore. Jokes aren't great but definitely better than any recent spoof movie I have seen. Just seeing Moore get slapped around was pretty funny for me. Don't think it will get its point across because as you can see from the comments below, those leaning left have not watched it or don't want to while conservative leaning movie goers thought it was hilarious.

Maybe I sould watch Mr. Moore before I put him down...further, but I believe I would rather watch Al Gore's phony global warming documentary (that helped him get a nobel for chrissakes) than watch Moore's movies. Ok, I am not totally hypocritical - someone buy me the movie and put some boobs in there somewhere and I will watch it!
August 18, 2012
Great movie. Provides a different view to the typical Hollywood viewpoint. 11% of critics like it?! What a shocker!
June 23, 2012
A laugh out loud hilarious movie with a great message. Every American hating liberal should watch this movie and maybe they too can get a clue. God Bless America! USA! USA! USA!
greyhound109
October 18, 2008
What the hell? Really, what the hell? Did anyone even try, even a little bit? You got Dennis Hopper on your cast (he was probably high when he agreed to it) way to go, that doesn't make this the least bit better. Of course Jon Voight's in it, I'm coulda guessed that. It was like there was no screenplay to begin with. A bunch of Lifetime channel comedians (non-existant? exactly) grabbed a camera and shot this in a day. Most likely. F
October 18, 2008
There's no sense on this movie... Targeted for the peanut minds (nowadays almost the entire country)... Because slapping people is so hilarious!! <--- Gimme a break!
June 29, 2009
'An American Carol' is a retelling of the Charles Dickins classic fable A Christmas Carol but this time, instead of an old, greedy miser named Ebenzer Scrooge being visited by a group of spirits, exploring the meaning of Christmas, we get an anti-American filmmaker named Michael Malone (played by Kevin Farley) being visited by the spirits of 3 American heroes, presidents John F. Kennedy (Chriss Anglin), George Washington (Jon Voight) and General George Patton (Kelsey Grammer), and a country singer, oddly enough (Trace Adkins, as himself), in order to rediscover the meaning of patriotism (which, in this case, means supporting the war on terror) and the 4th of July.
As a comedy, the film falters from its lack of originality. David Zucker (veteran director of classic parody films like 'Airplane!' and 'The Naked Gun') has lost his touch. The film is hoping that the target audience would get a hoot from seeing a thinly-veiled Michael Moore caricature being slapped silly over and over, but it gets old. And the film does try to find a balance between the few somber moments where it pays tribute to the men and women in the military and the many screwball comedic pratfalls by Farley and a number of disabled children. These somber moments feel out of place, and kinda stalls the film.
As a political statement, it seems like it misses the point. The main target for satire in this flick are anti-war protesters and liberals, but it sounded like the message of the movie was that you're not a patriot unless you regularly yell out "God bless America!" and listen to country music (which I don't necessarily agree with, seeing that I hate country music, myself). The film's message seemed as aimless and disjointed as a Sarah Palin speech. It was done much better in the Matt Stone/Trey Parker comedy 'Team America: World Police'.
September 4, 2008
offensive characterizations of muslims
jingoistic love for men in uniform
attacking documentaries, pretty much denying useful information to uncover and expose corruption.
Save yourself and get Zucker's better film, "Airplane!"
September 5, 2009
A David Zucker comedy full of cameos with a distinctly neo-conservative bent. Not nearly as funny as other Zucker comedies, this one takes on the fattest blow-hard of them all, Michael Moore. A good premise, but missing the timing that make the others so good.
July 14, 2009
I support the majority of the values that were being promoted here, which is the reason for the 2 stars. Otherwise I have to be honest and say that it wasn't that funny. Certainly not one of Zucker's best and sometimes it got downright preachy, which is so out of place in a satire. Let the comedy get the message across!
May 26, 2009
Probably the only thing I enjoyed about this movie was that it defied Hollywood liberal-ese, and provided a dose of conservativism that is all too often ignored. However, they are soooooo conservative, and ham-handedly so, that the messages of the film border on dangerous regardless of your ideological views. It's been about a week since i watched so my examples may not be perfect, but war isn't simply justified in certain instances but is glorified without regards to situations that may rationalize war as opposed to those that don't. Also, it seems ignorant of the liberal viewpoint, breaking them down into stereotypes so cartoonish and lacking any bearing in reality that I can't imagine this movie being persuasive to any group because conservatives are the only ones who would watch this thing and they already believe the BS that it is spitting. If the filmmakers would have distinguished the viewpoints in a more subtle way and portrayed the opposition (liberals) as real rational humans, than this could've been a decent and important film instead of an Epic Movie or Meet the Spartans for the political set.
June 4, 2009
Kevin Farley was hilarious. One of the best mock movies in years. I love what happens when he abolishes the 4th.
starlimitz2
March 17, 2009
Not especially good, especially considering it was made by David Zucker. It had some funny parts to it, and even made me bust out laughing once or twice. However, the overall reaction to it was a slight snicker every once in a while. It really should have had more Leslie Nielson. Though it was pretty funny how they knocked on Michael Moore, they could have had a better story behind it. Even with the star-studded cameos it felt like a lot of forced humor and sketchy lines. They could have done a lot better.
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