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DVD Review: An American Carol

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Slap-stick humor and racially-charged jokes suck and succeed in An American Carol, the latest release from Airplane! director and cult classic veteran, David Zucker. The film boasts overtly conservative arguments as it blasts acclaimed documentarian, Michael Malone (Kevin P. Farley, a dead ringer for Michael Moore), for his out-and-proud, anti-American values. Society, it seems, disgusts Malone, and he embarks on a mission sparked by true, patriotic ambition: boycotting the Fourth of July--forever!

However, fate intervenes when Aziz (Robert Davi) and Ahmed (Serdar Kalsin), members of an Al-Qeada training camp in the Middle East, lose one-too-many of their "good" suicide bombers to you guessed it, suicide bombs. Faced with a lack of recruits and thus, unable to wreak havoc on the innocent, they set-out to find Malone who they hope will provide them with a following of anti-Westerners and more importantly, grant them access to the massive anti-Fourth of July rally in America, the perfect setting for a terrorist attack. The fact that they are unsuccessful in their efforts is no matter, as the plot takes an unexpected, red herring-like turn. The plight of the suicide bombers is unexpectedly replaced by a crazy, roller coaster storyline centered around Malone's delusional fantasies, a la Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

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Malone is visited by several ghosts of America's past, including John F. Kennedy (Chriss Anglin), General George Patton (Kelsey Grammer), and The Angel of Death (Trace Adkins), who all try in vain to give Malone a new perspective on what it means to be an American. The ghostly visits become the medium for the film's pro-American message, giving Malone insight into the adversity that America has fought to overcome and a taste of the very thing that he's taken for granted: freedom. (cue Neil Diamond's America; followed by a six-gun salute and apple pie).

Malone, who is openly anti-war and hated by American soldiers, is asked by one of the spirits to envision an America where wars were never fought. He's then taken to a mansion in the south, where happy little African-American slaves pluck cotton in fields and greet Malone, their master, with a song and dance number. The comedy takes to new heights as the scene pokes fun of rape and interracial relationships. Hilarity!

Malone is then taken to a future version of Los Angeles, one taken over by radical Islamists, where Victoria's Secret hawks "sexy" burkhas and the Hollywood Hills are filled with quotes from the Koran. Again, Malone is horrified, but his journey isn't complete. Fighting off pea-brained suicide bombers, annoying ghosts and zombie-like ACLU lawyers, Malone eventually comes out on top, if not changed for the better, certainly changed forever.

While the film's kooky premise has little more than two, fat legs to stand on, the real sticking power lies in its willingness to challenge the liberal left agenda, a risk that few filmmakers are willing to take, even in satire. The film bravely takes comedic risks, and for every one that fails, there are many that repeatedly payoff, from Malone's insatiable, inopportune hankerings for outlandish snacks to the running punch line that all documentaries are similar in their clichéd tones and elderly audience appeal.

There is truly something for everyone in An American Carol, a fresh take on political parody that guarantees a good laugh, possibly a few, depending on which side of the fence you fall on.

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Photos courtesy of Vivendi Entertainment

Review by Piper Whitman