Conservative 'Carol' is flat and unfunny

Posted: October 04, 2008

'All the really good suicide bombers are gone," laments a trio of bumbling Afghan terrorists early on in An American Carol, and that's about the high-water mark for humor in this jaw-droppingly awful political comedy from veteran spoofer David Zucker.

A Red State riposte that parodies Oscar-winning documentarian Michael Moore and his perceived lack of patriotism, An American Carol takes Dickens - Scrooge, ghosts, lessons learned - and moves it from Christmas to the Fourth of July, from London of yore to a backyard barbecue crowded with Main Streeters that would do Sarah Palin proud.

At a picnic table, old Grandpa (Leslie Nielsen) regales the kids with his tale of "a director who really, really hates America." That would be Michael Malone (Kevin Farley, schlubby in cap and jeans), whose most recent doc is called Die, You American Pigs!

Malone is campaigning to do away with Independence Day - his protest against the corrupt warmongers running the country. But then the ghosts of George Washington (Jon Voight), Gen. George Patton (Kelsey Grammer) and the Angel of Death (country star Trace Adkins) materialize to show Malone the error of his ways. What if Lincoln hadn't fought the Civil War? And what if Roosevelt had heeded the demonstrators opposing U.S. involvement in the fight against the Nazis?

Equating Malone with Hitler's moviemaking propagandist Leni Riefenstahl, Zucker goes on to offer a mix of lame sight gags and lamer satirical jabs at left-leaning celebs.

Zucker has made some funny movies in his day. With partners Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker, he's created a template for genre spoofery that's been ripped off a hundred times since Robert Stack and Peter Graves climbed into 1980's Airplane!

But An American Carol is about as not-funny as a comedy can get. Farley not only fails to pull off a credible Michael Moore impersonation, he also fails in his few attempts at simple farce. And that trio of inept jihadists? The Three Stooges they are not.


Contact movie critic Steven Rea at 215-854-5629 or srea@phillynews.com.

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