Trailer Blazer: 'An American Carol'

Near as I can tell, An American Carol (opening Oct. 3) is a movie in which Michael Moore a Michael Moore-like filmmaker (played by Chris Farley’s brother, Kevin) does an ideological 180 after getting smacked around a lot by a bunch of ghosts (hey, it worked on Bill Murray in Scrooged) and by Bill O’Reilly (playing himself), who tells Farley’s character he just enjoys manhandling people. (Insert joke and Smoking Gun link here.)

Director is David Zucker, who refers to himself in a title card as "master of satire." No. You’re a master of parody (that is, making fun of other works of art), or at least, you used to be (Airplane! The Naked Gun movies), though maybe not so much any more (Scary Movies 3 and 4, Superhero Movie). You are not a master of satire (that is, making fun of people and institutions), at least, not judging by this clip. Zucker and his cast discuss their effort to make an explicitly conservative satire in this Weekly Standard article. Now, I agree that there’s room in the marketplace for a good conservative satire (like, say, the thoroughly original and creative Team America: World Police. Now, that was funny.), but this trailer didn’t make me chuckle. Gags about butch lesbians, kids getting smacked around, Gary Coleman as a slave, Kelsey Grammer as the ghost of George S. Patton — I see a lot of agitprop, but where’s the funny? (Okay, maybe seeing the effete, prissy Frasier play the blood-and-guts general will be a scream. Or seeing Jon Voight as George Washington. Or Trace "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" Adkins as an august Grim Reaper. All right, I take it all back. David Zucker, you are a master of satire.)

You can watch the trailer in HD over at Yahoo Movies, but I prefer it in the form it appeared in during its premiere (embedded above) last week on The O’Reilly Factor, with a Fox News logo superimposed on the corner throughout the entire clip.

Comments (96 total) Add your comment
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  • Jim

    Epic Fail.

  • Heleno

    Waow, xenophobia, ignorance AND it’s not funny. Where do I sign up?
    I feel the same way about this as I did about Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11: with such an easy target, how can you miss? Similarly, if you are right-wing and you want to attack Moore, how can you do THIS bad a job of it?

  • Sarah

    I’ll probably only see it because it stars Kevin Farley. Long live Doug! Linus.

  • mark in nyc

    Being conservative and funny just does not work. why? cause when you are the ones in power, the ones with all the money, you are not laughing with anyone, just at them.
    I mean what is gonna be in this movie? Look at those lesbians with their short hair….don’t you see they should not be allowed to marry the person they love?
    How bout those poor people with no health care? What’s the problem? Once they die…no more problem! RDRR!

  • foo

    In spite of your politically motivated review (we’re reviewing trailers now!), much of this actually does seem funny. There’s no reason why you can’t agree with Michael Moore’s politics and still see that he’s a complete douchebag who warrants a sendup.

  • Daniel

    Hey, I liked “Scary Movie 3″. And if I remember correctly, EW’s own Owen Gleiberman even gave it a B+. (Yup, just double-checked.)

  • Big_Lib

    I am a big liberal and from what I can see it looks very funny. Liberals are open minded and have no problem laughin at themselves. Anyone too idealigically driven to see something new doesn’t deserve to be called a progressive.

  • vw

    why are you even reviewing this sussman? you’re liberal, of course you wouldn’t find this funny. only conservatives will find this funny. i say what goes around comes around and liberals can’t have it all their way. there are voices other than yours which have every right to be heard too.unfortunately there are people who enjoy this type of humor on both sides. the left has shown tons of it, i guess it was time for the right to do so as well. i can’t wait for the day when people will stop bashing each other all together, left or right, and stop all these outlandish digs. to the left and the right,just because someone disagrees with you and your political views does not mean they are extremists, stupid, or unintelligent. sometimes i look around and wonder how we even make it each day. but i will say saddleback gave me a glimmer of hope that there might still be a grown-up or two out there.

  • sjh

    Frankly, Chris Farley wasn’t funny to begin with (just a louder, more vulgar, less inspired version of John Belushi and John Candy), and it looks as if his brother is just a rip off of him. Satire requires going beyond the mere surface, as in suggesting the way to control overpopulation is to eat the children, as in “A Modest Proposal”, or by showing how a fear of having our bodily fluids impurified can lead to the destruction of life as we know it, as in “Dr. Strangelove”. Now it is entirely possible for conservatives to make a funny film, but this doesn’t look like it. Merely pointing out that lesbians are masculine-looking, or that liberals are self-indulgant, isn’t enough. I will admit ending the 4th of July could be funny, but it depends on the motivation. If it is because liberals hate America, it doesn’t go far enough. However if it is because the Declaration of Indep. is insensitive to English people and the 4th is not historically accurate, then you got something.

  • Bobby

    I watched the full trailer and think it looks hysterical. I mean, reading real news articles about what the ACLU is up to is hilarious to begin with… well, until it’s sinks in that it’s real.

  • AM

    Sussman, your review is so slanted politically you can’t even evaluate this without hyperventilating. While I may not agree entirely with the politics of the movie, it looks funny. And Michael Moore is long overdue for a roast of this sort.

  • Steve

    The trailer is meant to just hit the basic, slapstick humor and doesn’t expose much of the satire in the plot of the film – and yes, the film has a plot. (Not so subtly copied from Dickens, by the way.)
    I’ve been following many of the comments all over the web and find it hilarious that the left is so offended. One comment asked if “librul commies” were ever slave owners and why this movie portrayed them as such. The answer is, yes, “libruls” were slave owners in the American past, just as conservatives were. And some would argue that “commies” are slave owners — or at least slave users — by definition.
    For those of you so offended that you wish to leave the country on Opening Day (October 3rd), I encourage you to do so. And, please consider staying out of country until the movie’s run is complete, which probably will be sometime in mid-November.
    Further protests by ignoring this year’s election would also be appreciated and respected!

  • Kerry Lindro

    And it should be noted that this opus has tested poorly with audiences. Whether they were conservative or liberal, they just didn’t like it.

  • Dana Ryan

    David Zucker is a hack and the films he made with Abrahams and his brother are overrated. This film he’s made is about his outrage at paying higher taxes.

  • Bonnie Honigberg

    I’m of the school of waiting to see something before criticizing it. Based on the trailer, this is more a movie I’d watch on cable than see in the theater, unless I heard it was really great. The best thing about the film is that we live in a country where someone can make it, as well as make the choice whether to see it or not.

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