From David Zucker, the director of The Naked Gun and Airplane! comes a bare-knuckle comedy where no one is safe from the onslaught of lunacy. When obnoxious Hollywood director Michael Malone organizes a Ban the 4th of July campaign, his efforts are upended by a gang of spirits from America s past. Zucker roasts a herd of sacred cows in this latest parody featuring an all-star cast.
It’s been suggested that An American Carol wasn’t screened for reviewers prior to its theatrical release because the predominantly left-leaning critics would pan the film merely because of its conservative subject matter, thus torpedoing its box office potential. There’s some justification for that belief, but there’s another reason that certain films aren’t pre-screened: because they’re not good, and the studios and/or distributors know it. Director/co-writer David Zucker’s film takes a scattershot approach to various liberals and their causes (Hollywood, MoveOn.org, college professors, the ACLU). It mocks Arab terrorists with facile stereotypes, and it reminds us yet again that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Adolf Hitler led to World War II. Most of all, Zucker delights in skewering filmmaker Michael Moore, here called Michael Malone and amusingly portrayed by Kevin Farley, brother of the late comedian Chris. Not only does "Malone" merely make documentaries, which don’t count as real movies; he’s also a "blame America first" traitor who’s pro-Jihad, hates Christians and country music, owned slaves in a former life, and, worst of all, wants to abolish the Fourth of July holiday. Zucker invokes Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in service of this plotline; he gives Malone/Scrooge a loving nephew and a long-suffering Bob Cratchit (combined into one character, a Navy officer heading off to Iraq), a Jacob Marley (Chris Anglinn as J.F.K.), and three spirits (Kelsey Grammer as Gen. George Patton, Jon Voight as George Washington, and country singer Trace Adkins as the angel of death) who show him the error of his ways. All of this is offered as broad parody, with plenty of physical slapstick (no surprise coming from one of the guys responsible for Airplane and the Naked Gun series) and cameos by the likes of James Woods, Leslie Nielsen, Paris Hilton, Bill O’Reilly, and Dennis Hopper. They aren’t enough to salvage a movie that, whatever its political POV, just isn’t very funny. --Sam Graham