Satirists today are in a tight spot. For some time now, pop culture and politics have been in a neck and neck race to out-self-parody one another, but we still expect them to be skewered, continuously and mercilessly (South Park
does it admirably). What could go wrong? Enter American Dreamz
, Paul Weitz' new film that takes on a broad array of topics, from terrorism to American
consumerism. But the crux of this flimsy satire is a send-up of both the Bush administration and that almighty stardom factory, American Idol
Things start off with a back-and-forth tour of the key players. Sally Kendoo (Mandy Moore) is a young cutie from s**t Township, Ohio, and a hopeful on the talent search show
. Certain of her impending rise to the top, she breaks it off with her doofus boyfriend (Chris Klein) and hastily begins negotiations with an agent. Next we meet the President's bald Chief of Staff (Willem Dafoe), struggling to fight off rumors of the President' nervous breakdown with the White House press corps. The President- Dennis Quaid doing his best impression of a dopey Texan-certainly is losing it, and has shut himself in the Presidential bedroom. His reclusive nature is the product of a realization that there' no solution to the horrific problems of the world. Approval ratings are dropping and the First Lady attempts to pep up her man with anti-depressants. Unfortunately for Quaid' send-up, watching Bush speak on CNN is just as funny as anything he does here.