For the first 15 minutes or so, An American Carol is legitimately funny parody from the mind of David Zucker, the same guy responsible for Airplane! and Naked Gun. Fans of those films would be wise to hit the stop button past that point, as the film completely runs out of gas. It’s a repetitive, unfunny mess with no real point other than to show a ridiculously extreme side of American politics.
A parody of Michael Moore, American Carol does a fine job of lampooning his tactics, even in a way his fans would probably find amusing at least, the first time. Zucker continues the same gags repeatedly, whether they involve his weight, political beliefs, or slapping. It’s tiresome, and completely devoid of the type of parody Zucker used to give audiences. Dialogue is devoid of the sharp-witted jabs he was known for.
Kevin Farley does fine with what he’s given, which is mostly weird looks at things going on around him. There are a few mannerisms that are recognizable, but it’s likely he landed the part simply because he does look a lot like Michael Moore. The cameos, including Dennis Hopper and Jon Voight, make you wonder if they even read the script.
American Carol reaches for every laugh it wants, and typically falls flat in doing so. It’s not a movie even worthy of a discussion, as it fails so miserably it won’t generate anything other than groans. Maybe Zucker should look into Airplane III to lift him back up though maybe he should leave that alone too if this is any indication.
Vivendi delivers an all-around superb transfer for this miserable little movie. Razor sharp and incredibly clear, the video carries plenty of pop. Black levels are excellent, and while the contrast runs hot, it seems to be the style of the day. Flesh tones can occasionally veer off into orange territory, although it’s rare. Detail up close is absolutely stunning, while a few distance shots can appear softer.
Sadly, Vivendi takes the Warner Bros. route and only includes a standard Dolby Digital mix. Then again, the film’s sound design is bland, so it’s doubtful it could have helped. There are only a few brief, quick-to-pass segments that offer any surround activity. The stereo channels have only minor work. The film is centered for nearly all of its run time, despite having the chance to impress.
Oddly, American Carol doesn’t have a pop-up menu. Instead, the movie stops and a completely silent menu covers the screen. Using a menu while watching a movie is a Blu-ray standard, so it’s jarring not to be able to do it.
Then again, who want this stuff? David Zucker, Kevin Farley, and co-writer Lewis Friedman discuss the film in a commentary, while a cluttered selection of 13 deleted and extended scenes (along with an outtake or two) fill 15 minutes of the disc. Loads of trailers, including the very odd choice of The Stoning of Soraya M. that’s nearly offensive given the nature of the movie, offer the last of the features.