Oh my hat, I haven't laughed so much in an age! In my opinion, "American Dreamz" is a totally fab, satire-iffic attack on all that is wrong with American pop culture. It mocks everything and everyone from the pompous, shallow-hearted rich to the tawdry, tasteless white trash. Fashion, music, television, even the conflict with Iraq - no one and nothing is safe from its accusing and amusing finger.
The movie is based around the shooting of an "American Idol" type TV show. Martin Tweed (played by Hugh Grant) is the heartless compere who's doing the show for his own fame and adulation. He's rude, foul-mouthed, and well...basically a great rip off of Simon Cowell. I found him loathsome and yet facinating- like watching a train wreck.
The contestants- oh my! Sally Kendoo (Mandy Moore) sure is a CAN DO girl. She's a self-serving, fame-hungry southerner-- a female version of Hugh's character but without the cash. Her role mocks the flippant, self-serving attitudes of fizz-pop icons like Britney Spears (the singer we all love to hate) who use their body and anyone around them to further their career.
Inevitably Mandy ends up in bed with Hugh in the most sad and empty way. Aside from a few body fluids, all they share is a great love of themself. But the sexual romp sparks off a series of pathetic and melodramatic events that almost border on slapstick in some places.
The Arab contestant, Omer (Sam Golzari), is really a lovable failed terrorist being forced by fanatics to annihilate President Staton (Dennis Quaid). The president has just been reelected, but is bewildered about this world he is supposedly running. The conflict between these two is a case of the pitiable attacking the clueless, yet I found myself caring about both sides. As the president begins to question his role, Vice President Sutter (Willem Dafoe) who is a mockery of Dick Cheney, signs President Staton up to appear on the season finale of American Dreamz so he can redeem his image to the American public. There is a great play on what the public sees versus what is really happening.
Paul Weitz directed this brave movie. I say brave because, while I totally loved it, any American not able to laugh at themselves might get ticked off at how well he barbeques so many of their sacred cows. But if you love to laugh and are not easily offended, this is definitely worth an afternoon and a big bag of popcorn.