• January 12, 2022

America: the Motion Picture review: Netflix’s animated satire is a total flop

From 2004 Team America: World Police It was a scathing parody of American action movies, but also a legitimately excellent version of the genre’s tropes in action. While ridiculing the concept of American exceptionalism, writers Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Pam Brady managed to truly defend America’s role as the Biggest cocks in a world full of assholes.

Animated Netflix feature America: The Movie, which opens June 30, seems like an attempt to walk the same line between mockery and real patriotism. The aggressively anachronistic and ahistorical film follows George Washington (Channing Tatum) as he tries to avenge the death of his best childhood friend, Abraham Lincoln (Will Forte), fighting against British forces led by Benedict Arnold (Andy Samberg), who inexplicably is a werewolf. . That might be a recipe for some silly fun to watch while you’re heavily intoxicated and celebrating the 4th of July, but any goodwill provided by the concept or cast is completely wasted on a movie that contains endless references without having nothing to say.

Washington seeks the help of frat brother Sam Adams (a waste of Jason Mantzoukas’ weird humor) and a socially awkward version of Paul Revere who dresses like a gentleman (Bobby Moynihan). The script, by writer Dave Callaham (Wonder Woman 1984 Y Mortal Kombat) repeatedly points out that the founding fathers were white men who really only cared about the interests of other white men. Then move on, without any stitches or spikes. That’s especially true when the guys are recruiting more diverse allies like expert tracker Geronimo (Raoul Trujillo) or Iron Man-style superscientist Thomas Edison, who is recast as a Chinese-American woman voiced by Olivia Munn.

Image: Netflix

Characters of color constantly point out that they are likely to get unfair treatment from Washington and Adams, who regularly make racist and sexist comments. But they ignore those doubts, because those guys are supposed to be lovable idiots, and their enemy, King James (Simon Pegg) is worse – he’s basically DuneBaron Harkonnen with a plan to turn the entire world into tea-loving Britons with bad teeth. Callahan tries to poke fun at the background dumps with open lampshades, but then Jefferson explains that he wants to win the war to show everyone what science is capable of. No one mentions that the British Empire seems to be completely driven by superscience, whereas the guys she works with call her a witch.

Goalkeeper director Matt Thompson directed America: The Movie, and the movie makes it clear how much more important Goalkeeper creator and writer Adam Reed is the hit of the FX show. At first glance, Archer, an arrogant spy and James Bond parody, seems similar to Tatum’s portrayal of Washington as a tough and brooding action hero, but although GoalkeeperThe characters regularly make the dumbest decisions possible, the writing is extremely clever. The world follows its own weird logic, and the entire cast is so obnoxious and self-absorbed that viewers don’t have to feel bad for anyone. Callahan seems to genuinely want the founding fathers to be flawed but relatable heroes, but they just seem like idiots no one should work with.

America: The Movie It offers only the most superficial version of the parody, as the characters point out the ridiculously increasing risks of the conflict, or that their story follows a classic three-act structure. It’s equally full of obvious movie references. America: The Movie it is apparently a joke. But nothing really clever or funny happens. Without even a pretense of internal logic to justify those references, the movie feels like a Family man version of Ready Player One.

Washington and Lincoln wear flashy T-shirts from the

Image: Netflix

One of the first scenes in which Washington sees Lincoln die in ridiculous spurts of blood resembles the scene of prolonged vomiting from America team, or any number of Family man Pranks that go on for so long that they get boring and then get funny again. But Callahan and Thompson don’t seem to understand that those bits work due to the fast pace of what comes before and after. America: The Movie it’s full of jokes that never land and then stay past their welcome, like a lengthy hacking sequence in which Washington must find out where the British are hiding in Gettysburg – that is, it needs to find the Gettysburg address.

When the humor isn’t relentlessly bland, it’s offensive. Arnold’s declaration that he has switched sides triggers an extended sequence in which he has to clumsily convince Lincoln and Washington that he is not coming out as gay. Busty blonde Martha Washington (Judy Greer) is not a parody of action movie love interests whose only role is to have sex with the hero and then inevitably motivate him by being kidnapped by a rude bad guy – everything to do with those tropes are played effectively. right. Over and over again, Callahan references the things that are wrong with Hollywood blockbusters and American society and then moves on, as if the slightest bit of self-awareness provides humor or a point.

There’s not even much visual appeal to the movie, which uses a blocky style similar to The Venture Bros. – the only similarity America: The Movie leads to that much better action skit job. AmericaThe artwork is worse, however, thanks to a strange effect that makes the characters’ chiseled jaw lines and bulging muscles glow in distracting ways. Even novel animations like a bloodthirsty soccer ball named Manchester feel like purposeless tricks.

The war for “critical race theory” in schools is leading Americans to examine the stories we tell about our country. Independence Day is a celebration of creating a better political system and can also be an opportunity to assess how we can continue to improve as a society. Even for audiences not feeling introspective, July 4 can be a great time to enjoy the best that America has to offer, including entertaining action movies. America: The Movie it tries to provide a little of both and delivers neither. As a failed firework, it’s meant to provide a quick burst of spectacle, and it’s just a disappointment.

America: The Movie it now airs on Netflix.

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