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Better Than They Say
brenttraft26 April 2006
"American Dreamz" is not the funniest or cleverest film ever made, but it isn't as bad as a lot of the other reviewers are saying. To be sure, it will offend anyone who is a fan of American Idol, President Bush, or Al Qaeda.

The jokes are cute but will not leave you rolling in the aisles. There are really good performances throughout, especially by Willem Dafoe. who I had never really seen in a comedic performance.

This film could have been more mean spirited, but they actually went out of their way to make all the characters empathetic. My favorite part is when the terrorist are looking forward to eating grapefruit sorbet.

It's a shame this film was not more popular in the theaters, because it has a lot going for it despite it's faults. Hopefully it will be more popular on DVD.
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a RARE satire because it breaks taboos about what we can satirize
cndiver24 May 2006
Perhaps this film has gotten mixed reviews because it breaks an unwritten code about how far a movie can go in satirizing America's myths. When before have we seen the President of the United States on happy pills and robotic-ally pro- gram-med by his Rovelike handlers ? Who would suggest that an Al-Quaeda training camp could be funny and that someone in it has up scale all-American relatives in Orange County, California ? Could our love affair with American Idol be an escape from the collapsing American middle class way of life ?

This film IS often funny but it doesn't want that humor to stay in a feel good zone. It WANTS to make us uncomfortable and to face things that we don't want to look at too closely. The "sin" that this film has committed is that it wants us to grow up.
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"American Dreamz" is a brave and hysterical satire that mocks everything and everyone.
MovieManMenzel8 April 2006
"American Dreamz" is first and foremost a satire on pop culture America. This movie is based around the television series American Dreamz which is the highest grossing show not only in America but around the world as well. The show is hosted by Martin Tweed, (Hugh Grant) a heartless man who is just doing the show for his own selfish reasons. American Dreamz is about to start its new season and as they go through the casting process they pick a southern girl named Sally Kendoo (Mandy Moore), an Arab named Omer (Sam Golzari) and many others. But that's not all the movie focuses on, it also focuses on President Staton (Dennis Quaid) who has just gotten reelected but is finally beginning to wonder what's going on in this world he is supposedly running. As the president begins to question his role, Vice President Sutter (Willem Dafoe) signs President Staton up to appear on the season finale of American Dreamz so he can redeem his image to the American Public. Bold and funny moments ensue…

"American Dreamz" is a very ballsy and brave movie. At times it is so hard to realize you're watching a movie that was made by the big Hollywood studios because this film mocks everything about their culture and thinking. I think this film will be appreciated by very few because people will not be able to look at this film for what it is, a satire. The movie mocks so much about our current country from the television show American Idol to George Bush and Dick Cheney. I feel so few will be able to understand that this film isn't to be taken seriously, since it mocks issues that are happening in real life.

What I liked best about "American Dreamz" was that it mocked everything and everyone. From rich America to white trash America no one was safe. The movie mocks the United States as well as Iraq. It mocks fashion, music, television and so forth. It's a brave movie for being able to mock all these things because I can see so many people getting ticked off by the film.

But forget about everyone else for a moment, this review is based on my thoughts and I found the film to be incredible. It is one of the best movies I have seen so far this year. The film provides a lot of laughs and never drags on. The movie wants its audience to be able to laugh at themselves, something that Americans tend not to be able to do so well. It's a brave and comedic satire that pulls all the right punches and is based around a show that is truly something that everyone in the world is aware of.

Hugh Grant is terrific as Martin Tweed, the foul-mouthed, uncaring, fame seeker who doesn't care about anyone but himself. He pretty much mocks Simon Cowell from the show "American Idol" and I think he does this well. Mandy Moore is terrific as well and I think after a few more roles like this and "Saved!" she will start being recognized in Hollywood. Her character Sally Kendoo is pretty much a female version of Martin Tweed. She is uncaring, she wants fame, and she doesn't seem to care about anyone but herself. Not to mention she is a perfect mockery of such pop icons like Britney Spears and Carrie Underwood. Dennis Quaid does a great job impersonating President Bush and actually makes a more likable President in my opinion then the real George Bush. Also Willem Dafoe is the perfect mockery of Dick Cheney. I think his performance here is so dead on that he should receive some kind of nomination for his portrayal. But the real star of the movie is Omer played by Sam Golzari. He absolutely steals the movie from everyone else. He is the most likable and sweet character. At first you laugh at him but as the film goes on you begin to really love his character and feel for him.

Paul Weitz is the director, writer and producer of "American Dreamz." Weitz is one talented guy who takes so many actors and makes them into something great. "About a Boy," "In Good Company," and his short lived but brilliant television series "Cracking Up" all prove that he is a talented guy who can create original and clever work and "American Dreamz" is no different. But not only is he a great director but a great writer as well. His screenplay is great and mocks cultures with dead on examples, not to mention his non-typical Hollywood ending which I applaud him for leaving in. I read audience reactions from the test screenings about the ending were pretty negative but I am glad he kept it because I feel it's a great ending.

Bottom Line, "American Dreamz" is for audiences who can laugh at themselves and the culture they are apart of. This is a film that people will either love or hate and there will only be a few in between. It's not a movie for those who are easily offended or see the world as something that shouldn't be made fun of. It's a satire in its finest form. You have a terrific cast all of whom are solid at their roles, the script is brilliant and brave, and the directing is wonderful. This movie even makes you think when you laugh. You can't ask for a better comedy movie to come out of Hollywood, this is the finest satire to be released from a major studio in years. If you have a decent sense of humor and can laugh at yourself every once in a while, check out "American Dreamz" because it really is a dream with a Z.

MovieManMenzel's final rating for "American Dreamz" is a 9/10. It's the best satire to come out of Hollywood in years.
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A Very good satire
ansiewaterval30 November 2006
When I was reading the other people's opinion's on American Dreamz, I wondered if they even realized it was a satire...? I surely hope that all who watched it even knows what a satire is: It is when you mock people and their doings/obsessions with the hope of improvement. In this movie, the director (Paul Weitz) mocks everything from America's obsession with TV-shows like Idols to George W. Bush and his delectable office. This is surely a movie you would want to watch a couple of times over - just to catch that dreary bit you most certainly missed the first time.

I would give this movie a well deserved 8 out of ten.
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A hilarious, brave piece of film-making that exceeds all expectations
bc54312 April 2006
I just saw this at an advance screening and was astounded. Based on the previews, I had concerns like many of the people posting in the forum here: that it would be stupid, flat, bland "American sucks because..." formulaic drivel with a little bit of Arab stereotyping thrown in for good measure. I went into the film expecting to hate it. From the first line through, I was converted. The film offers a very interesting take on what the problems are in modern America, but it is not entirely negative: it also has a lot of good things to say about what makes America work. It creates a perfect blend of political satire, social commentary, and intelligent, dark humor. All of this, is, of course, peppered with the sparkling wit that we have come to expect from writer/director/producer Weitz, whose past credits range from the crass American Pie to About a Boy. There have been lots of people expressing fears over Arab stereotyping, and I would be lying if I said that terrorism doesn't play a large role, but I don't think I'm spoiling anything here (it was in the previews). The film looks at America as seen by a young Iraqi man, Omer (Sam Golzari, who does a brilliant job of showing his constant turmoil as he struggles to reconcile the America that he sees and that which he was taught about), who comes to the States after spending his life being indoctrinated by a terrorist organization. Through his eyes, we see all the good and all the bad that this country has to offer. As a result, every single person, with the exception of Omer, is a caricature. The Arab terrorists seem like stereotypes because individual characters have been reduced to the essentials that are necessary for the satire to work. The terrorists are made more terrorist-y to create the separation from reality that satire requires. By the same token, the heartless Hollywood producer, the white-trash family, the loyal boyfriend, the opulent L.A. family, the idiot president and manipulative chief of staff, etc. are all caricatures of the people who they are standing for. The film does not engage in Arab stereotyping because it is racist drivel, but engages in caricaturing Arab terrorists (without implying that all Arabs are terrorists) because the genre calls for it. I don't know what else I can say about this movie, except that it might not be for everyone. It is NOT your usual Hollywood fare, so do not go to it expecting a few laughs and two hours of diversion from your life. Rather, like the satires of Swift, it will make you question everything about how you view the world, and it will make you laugh so hard, you don't even know it is doing this, until you leave the theater and everything looks just a little bit different. This is one of the most intelligent, unique, daring, and insightful films to have come out of Hollywood in a long time. This is a film made for every single person who has asked why Hollywood keeps putting out stupid, uninteresting films that trade out heart and intelligence for breasts and explosions. At the same time, this is a sublimely funny film that would appeal to an extremely wide range of ages and backgrounds.
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Fortunately when the movie does remember to be funny, it's very, very funny.
I_Like_Turtle_s21 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
There's so much going on in "American Dreamz" that it's no wonder it sometimes forgets to be funny. You'd lose focus, too, if you had to execute parodies of reality TV, terrorism, the Bush administration, the war in Iraq, western consumerism, and "American Idol," all in one film. Fortunately, when the movie does remember to be funny, it's very, very funny.

Martin Tweed (Hugh Grant) is the host and sole judge on "American Dreamz," a hugely popular "Idol"-esque TV show about to begin a new season. But Tweed, bored, barbaric and British, wants to shake things up this year. He orders his staff to ensure that an Arab and a Jew are among the competitors, and when the president of the United States says he wants to appear as a guest judge for the finale, well, that should be good for a laugh, too.

The president is Joseph Staton (Dennis Quaid), a recently re-elected Bible-thumper who does whatever his chief of staff Sutter (Willem Dafoe, in a Cheney/Rove bald cap) tells him. But Staton, experiencing something of a mid-term mid-life crisis, has actually started reading the newspapers and thinking for himself. In fact, he's so ensconced in the world of current affairs and book-learning that he hasn't appeared in public in several weeks, leading to rumors he's had a nervous breakdown, and prompting Sutter's efforts to get him on "American Dreamz." Meanwhile, the early front-runner in this year's "Dreamz" is Sally Kendoo (Mandy Moore), a perky-as-punch Ohio blonde who can turn on the charm in public as easily as she can turn on the connivery in private. In that respect, she is the soulmate of Martin Tweed, and the two find kinship in their duplicitous black-heartedness. This distresses Sally's boyfriend William (Chris Klein), a semi-wounded Army volunteer whom she's dating solely because it looks good on TV to have a boyfriend who fought in Iraq.

But what about the Arab and Jew Martin requested? The Jew gets shortchanged (as do a lot of the film's story elements), but the Arab is front and center. He's Omer (Sam Golzari), a bumbling but sweet former terrorist-in-training who was exiled by his Iraqi handlers to live with his cousins in America. Omer was never cut out for terrorism anyway; he prefers singing and dancing. Nonetheless, when his handlers tell him to use his "Dreamz" appearance -- and the presence of the U.S. president as a guest judge -- to further the cause, he has no choice but to obey.

Yes, writer/director Paul Weitz has his hands full here, and "American Dreamz" isn't as accomplished or smooth as his "American Pie," "About a Boy" and "In Good Company." (It's better than his Chris Rock misfire "Down to Earth," though.) While it's never boring, some scenes do feel like they ought to be funnier, or at least end more succinctly.

It's also a shame to see so many great characters and subplots underused. Omer's Americanized Iraqi cousins, led by the great Shohreh Aghdashloo; John Cho and Judy Greer as Martin's assistants; "SNL's" Seth Meyers as Sally's snaky agent; Jennifer Coolidge as her opportunistic mother; Marcia Gay Harden as the First Lady -- any of these roles could have been enhanced. There's a line between memorable supporting characters who serve their purpose and then disappear, and great supporting characters who make us feel like their scenes were deleted. This film crosses that line.

But it's the most outrightly satirical thing Weitz has done, and he demonstrates a real knack for it. The scenes mocking "American Idol" are hilariously accurate, from the types of contestants (the black diva, the prettified white boy, the wannabe rocker), to the drippy songs they choose, to the audience's fanatic devotion.

Hugh Grant is never better than when he's onstage as Martin Tweed, a perfectly unctuous TV airhead. He's not as charming in the offstage scenes as we like our Hugh Grants to be, but what can you do? He's working with Mandy Moore, for crying out loud.

Which brings me to an important point. The film is being marketed to Mandy Moore's demographic, but that audience will not enjoy it. They won't appreciate the multi-layered satire at work. The preview audience I saw it with often didn't even realize the jokes WERE jokes, let alone how funny they were. Besides, Moore's character is a scheming vixen, not the sweetheart her fans are used to.

Curiously, the one truly sincere character in the whole thing is President Staton, played with fiendish glee by Dennis Quaid. Staton may be an uncharitable send-up of our real-life commander in chief, but at least he's honest. You see in his arc (he's the only character who has one) a hint of what has made Weitz's previous films so winning: that layer of heart underneath the comedy that drives the whole thing home.

Grade: B- 6/10
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Oh... The World Seen Through Years Ago!
cestleilacherradi4 February 2016
I just saw this movie now, in 2015. And it is really scary to know that we already knew this much about the world and that up to now the same problems are here.

I agree that this movie in its form has flaws. It is very clear that something went missing between scenes, or the scenes were not explored deep enough, or there were too many plots, or the direction was not strong enough, or the humor was too lousy... BUT underlying it there's a real clear view of the state of our world, and that's why I am really glad to have seen this movie.

One of the best lines of the movie is when the president finally gets rid of his earplug and speaks for himself and says : "And I just want to say, in terms of the Middle East, that it looks like the problems over there are never gonna be solved. I mean never. Never never never never never. And so I'm sorry about that."
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Hugh Grant is the American Dream.
anaconda-406584 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
American Dreamz (2006): Dir: Paul Weitz / Cast: Hugh Grant, Dennis Quaid, Mandy Moore, Seth Meyers, Chris Klein: Fantastic satire that takes crack shots at American Idol, the American President and terrorist. It is also Paul Weitz's best film in a career that has spawned such worthy comic gems as In Good Company and American Pie. It is addressing the success and sensation regarding reality shows and the bullshit concealed. Hugh Grant is perfectly cast as the arrogant Martin Tweed who hosts American Dreamz. His performance is a send off to Simon Cowell of American Idol fame. Dennis Quaid plays a recently re-elected American President ousted onto American Dreamz as a guest judge. His performance is an obvious jab at George W. Bush. Mandy Moore plays off the phoniness of divas as her contending on American Dreamz is manipulated with what isn't happening behind the camera within her relationships. This is perhaps Moore at her best as she succeeds to the delight of the media that craves and buys into it all. Seth Meyers plays Omar, another contender sent by terrorist but who sincerely wishes to compete. Chris Klein plays Moore's moron veteran boyfriend who proves to be several sandwiches short of a picnic. Provocative comedy about pop culture and the reality that the dreams presented are merely costume to the lasting misery of it all. Score: 10 / 10
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Yes, Yes, Yes!
jbels26 March 2006
This movie was soooo good and sooo funny, non-stop laughs and pitch perfect performances from everyone. Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid, Willem Dafoe, Hugh Grant (he was like watching Simon Cowell up there). The whole film worked from start to finish and had some of the biggest laughs in years. The film is very much "of the moment" with its mirroring American Idol, the President, and terrorism, but it hits everything right on the head. Chris Klein, towards the end of the movie, has one of the funniest lines I have heard in decades. The movie also zooms by. I saw it at the festival in Cleveland, but if it was during regular release, I would have sat and watched it again. Great one!
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Any idiot can be on TV nowadays
TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews1 January 2010
This is a hilarious, if not perfect, satire. Mainly making fun of everything related to American pop culture, this also dedicates effort to parodying the administration of the time(and not doing anything to make it less obvious that that's what it's about)... and as something nice and different, it's about their personalities, not their politics. The humor is excellent, with a lot of dark comedy and absurdity, as well as cleverness. There is a lot of bravery in how far it goes to mock certain things, and I found the vast majority of it hysterical. With that said, some jokes and gags try too hard and fall flat. And I won't be an ass and claim that "everyone who doesn't like this doesn't get it". Weitz also directed American Pie and Down to Earth, and like in the first-mentioned, this juggles several plot-lines well. The characters are mostly credible, if not all the events are. It should perhaps be mentioned that you are, in fact, not supposed to sympathize with everyone in this, and it also is worth noting that there *are* a couple of likable ones, that you can relate to. The performances are a tad mixed, but they tend to be good. Klein is great, as is Grant. Greer isn't given enough to do, in my opinion. And yes, Moore is pretty annoying. She's not an actress, or wasn't at this point. The singing in this is enjoyable. There is occasional sexuality(and a little eye-candy, for both genders), mainly hinted at, sometimes in dialog(no details), and brief strong language in this. I recommend this to anyone that can imagine being entertained by it. 7/10
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Funny post-9/11 black comedy
blanche-21 December 2008
Imagine a terrorist getting to the final round of an American Idol-type show so that he can bump off one of the judges - the President of the United States. Paul Weitz has a great and creative imagination to think up the plot of "American Dreamz," a 2006 comedy that he wrote and directed.

The premise is that the President of the U.S. (Dennis Quaid) is the puppet of his chief adviser (Willem Dafoe) and has to have an earpiece so he knows what to say. At the beginning of the film, he's reading newspapers and discovering that things in the world aren't quite as they've been described to him. So absorbed is he in this new knowledge, that he won't leave the residence, and rumors surface that he's had a nervous breakdown or is ill. So his Chief of Staff mounts a massive publicity campaign, and one of the things he does is arrange for the President to judge the "American Dreamz" talent contest. Hugh Grant is the Simon Cowell character who also hosts the show. He wants a Jew and an Arab to compete, plus someone really yummy (Mandy Moore).

An idiot terrorist, Iqbal Riza (Tony Yalda) is sent to the U.S. to get him out of the way, and he lives with his cousins. His goal in life is to be on American Dreamz. However, the day the Dreamz committee arrives in response to his tape, his terrorist cousin Omer (Sam Golzali) is in his stage/basement setup doing a song from Guys and Dolls. He's scooped up for American Dreamz, which makes Iqbal a) furious and b) his choreographer. The terrorist bosses devise a bomb that Omer will retrieve in the mens room to kill himself and the President - but he has to get to the final round.

This comedy is truly outrageous. I just wish we could have seen a few more numbers from Omer and his cousin - for me, the competition just made the movie. In my opinion also, it would have been funnier if the Mandy Moore character of Sally Kendoo had been below par - she actually was pretty good. When Omer went into "The Impossible Dream" and one of the terrorists criticizes the choice of song to his fellow cell members, it was hilarious.

It is incredibly nervy to show terrorists assembling pieces of a bomb for Omer to put together and juxtapose it with a mindless competition - nervy because it's the old Hitchcock terror in normal places idea that is scary indeed.

After all Omer has been told about the evils in America, it must seem like a pretty silly place to him - but tempting - and he goes after the American Dream on American Dreamz. Sally Kendoo, looking for all the world like an innocent hometown girl, is anything but, as ruthless as they come, even taking advantage of an Iraqui vet she doesn't love to pull in audience votes. Grant is appropriately sleazy as Martin Tweed, Quaid good as an out of it President just finding his own voice, and Marcia Gay Harden has a small but colorful role as the First Lady.

Most of the characters are sketchy and not likable - except for Omer and his cousin, who are a riot. If only real young terrorists were the way these two are depicted.
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Fine Performances; Funny Scenes; Lackluster Direction
Danusha_Goska29 February 2008
Okay, "American Dreamz" is not the best movie I've ever seen. But it did make me laugh, and it's chock full of talent.

Plot: a young terrorist is assigned to blow himself up on the television show "American Dreamz" while President Staton is a judge for the show.

"American Dreamz" = "American Idol." President Staton = George Bush Willem Dafoe plays a Dick Cheney like character.

Hugh Grant plays a Simon Callow like character.

Hugh Grant, as the calculating, sadistic, game show host, shows us his inner snake, and it's a pleasure making the snake's acquaintance. Grant is convincingly cynical, twisted, and, at a key moment, vulnerable and poignant. And always funny.

Shoreh Aghdashloo, better known for operatic parts in serious dramas like "House of Sand and Fog," reveals a wonderful gift for comedy. I can only hope she ever gets to play comedy again.

Newcomer Sam Golzari is a poignantly convincing "everyman" driven to terrorism over grief at the death of his mother. The scene where he dances to Bob Fosse while in a terrorist training camp is worth the price of admission.

Another newcomer, Tony Yalda, is funny, commanding, and completely believable as a young show business wannabe. His every move is perfect, even as he watches his luckier cousin perform onstage. When he catches flaws in his own technique -- as he watches himself in his full length mirror -- his look of despair at his own failings is, there's that word again -- poignant.

Dennis Quaid, doing a George Bush imitation, somehow manages to keep his considerable sex appeal intact. How, I don't know.

Chris Klein, Mandy Moore, Marcia Gay Harden, Jennifer Coolidge -- these are very talented people and they are all perfect.

What isn't so great is the direction. It lacks the timing and snap of good comedic pacing. And there is a certain amount of incoherence in the script.

So, yeah, the movie isn't perfect, but it dares to poke fun at topics that have us all stymied, and to earn real laughs.
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The best modern political statement possible!!!! Modern Dr. Strangelove
bowtiecinema6 November 2006
This is a film that I always wanted to see in theaters, but unfortunately, it came & went rather quickly becoming a big box office flop. But one thing that this film proves is, that the box office is no measuring spoon for a great film. American Dreamz is perhaps the best kept secret of the year. It's the perfect satire for the modern condition of the world, and it's extremely entertaining to boot. This film is simply a mirror into the human and world affairs of today. If it seems a little ridiculous then maybe it should. The all-star cast, written, produced, and directed by Paul Weitz (In Good Company, About A Boy, and his notorious American Pie) is definitely his best, most ambitious, and most clever film. From a show-tune loving Islamic terrorist, to the very "Simon" like talent competition judge (portrayed by Hugh Grant), American Dreamz is truly the Dr. Strangelove of our time. It has the boldness and audacity to make powerful statements through its use of sarcasm and satire. The direct assault on our modern world couldn't have been as poignantly portrayed. Dennis Quaid's Bush-like portrayal of the presidency, Mandy Moore's modern drama queen that we've all come in contact with amidst the halls of our high school, Willem DaFoe's direct likeness to Dick Cheney, the young war hero wounded in the Iraq war, every element of this film is perfect for today. I can only dream that America is smart enough to get the message of American Dreamz.
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Satire as it was meant to be
supah7916 August 2006
I liked this film very much. It makes fun of everyone without getting offensive or condescending. And it's critical, something that is very rare these days.

This film takes on the Bush-administration, American Idol, Islamic terrorism and our society's obsession with TV and stardom. The film has some very good lines: "Did you know there are three kinda Iraqistans? Or: I'm not attracted to other people, but if you want me you can have me." I dunno, it wasn't hilarious or something. It was just smart and honest. Like good satire was meant to be: like looking in a mirror and be able to laugh at yourself without feeling bad.
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Must See/Very Funny
wcer061 March 2006
I was able to see an advanced screening of American Dreamz and was not too sure how I would like it before hand. But it was absolutely wonderful. The film was funny and enjoyable. I enjoy everything Paul Weisz has done in the past and American Dreamz is right on par. Hugh Grant great and Mandy Moore did a really good job as well. Dennis Quaid played the President and could not have done it any better. William Dafoe as Vice President and Marcia Gay Harden as First Lady, though, were even better. Reading the plot, I was not sure what I was about to see, but the story lines flow perfect together and it all comes together for an creative film. I highly suggest seeing American Dreamz.
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One of the few films to really deliver audiences that genuine feel of the 2000's so far
saarvardi3 May 2007
I guess one of the reasons this wonderful parody of the whole "American Idol" culture flopped so badly at the box office is that American Dreamz is just too blunt, witty and "in your face", that many people probably didn't feel comfortable with its message, as straight out and accurate as it may be.

This reality show parody succeeds in displaying the upside down world we live in – where leaders are more often mocked than honored (perhaps rightfully so?), and the real people who call the shots are greedy producers that take advantage of innocent youth. Beneath American Dreamz's not-too-subtle social message you can also find good music, healthy humor and a stunning cast led by the ever-so-charming Hugh Grant (in a Simon Cowell satire) and the very versatile Dennis Quaid (in a George W. Bush satire). However, it is the younger actors that truly steal the show – led by the surprisingly talented Mandy Moore as the "everyday girl" who appears at first as your average hillbilly but comes out triumphant as a manipulative young lady, and newcomer Sam Golzari, who portrays an American Muslim who gets caught by accident by the "American Dreamz" crew, and gets recruited as an ethnic wild card to the yearly musical show.

The movie follows a season of "American Dreamz", an American Idol-ish TV show that gets caught up in its own web – leading to wacky happenings and some really awkward plot twists that had me laughing silly. Alongside Garden State, it is one of the few films to really deliver audiences that genuine feel of the 2000's so far.
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Entertaining and relevant
PeachHipGirl30 March 2006
I was quite pleasantly surprised by this movie.

I didn't know much about it except that it was some sort of send-up of American Idol, it was directed by the guy who did American Pie, and it had some big name actors involved.

This is what a mainstream satire should be. While some elements were overt, there is definitely more subtle commentary as well. The performances were all very sincere, which allowed me to be drawn in and entertained.

I would also like to make a point to say that I do NOT think that the President character should be written off as a parody of Bush, as I heard some people saying as they exited the theater. While there are certainly elements of the character are clearly inspired by our Commander in Chief (present and past), it is not merely a caricature.

Bottom line: This movie is going to be big.
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No poignant satire, just a superficially adapted treatment
EnvyYouProductions12 July 2006
It could've been good, it could've been funny, it could've been poignant, it could've been merciless and harsh. However, American DREAMZ is nothing like it. It's a "what if" idea that seems just like an adapted treatment. I can imagine the brainstorming session: "What if we made a satire on "American Idol", or "Pop Idol"?" - "Yeah, that'd be a real blast!" - "Oh, oh, what if the candidates are a Orthodox Jew and an Arabian terrorist sleeper!" - "Great, but we need some sex appeal, how about a curvaceous white trash go-getter?" - "And for the host we have Hugh as Simon Callow, he wants to play someone nasty." "Swell!" That doesn't sound like a satire so far, just a spoof? True, but the biggie woofer idea is: "What if we make the dumb President of the United States a guest juror!" "Whoah! And he just found his conscience, and - get this - READS newspapers! And his chief of staff is worried so he tries to get the Prez back on track, where he was his puppet on a string..." American DREAMZ is mildly funny, but it ain't no WAG THE DOG, DR. STRANGELOVE, NETWORK or MASH. None of the characters gain any depth and remain farcially shallow, none of the story lines evolve, they just hit the next destined treatment milestones, whether the story lead to it or not. This film doesn't annoy you, but you sit in your seat, desperately wanting to laugh. And there is much potential for a sharp, witty comedy. But almost none of it gets fired up fully. Plainly a missed opportunity!
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Underrated Satire
Benedict_Cumberbatch16 January 2008
This smart satire about current issues and trends (the Iraq war, reality shows and all that jazz) is one of those sleepers that become cult movies 10 or 20 years after its original release. With an inspired cast that includes Hugh Grant as a cynical, vain TV show host (what were you expectin'?), Dennis Quaid as a dumb president who admires Carmen Electra and needs his chief of staff to think for him all the time (any similarity to real characters is no coincidence), Marcia Gay Harden as the first lady, Willem Dafoe as the chief of staff, and Mandy Moore as a talentless bitch (not even Moore could ruin it - this is, alongside another underrated satire, "Saved!", one of her least crappy performances, perhaps because she's kind of playing herself), and some very quotable lines, the movie tastes like a fast-food Monty Python - witty in spite of all the nonsense. "American Dreamz" may not have a memorable character like, say, Sacha Baron Cohen's "Borat", but it's just as corrosive. Too bad it didn't get the attention it deserved when it came out. Do yourself a favor and go rent it. 7.5/10.
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early screening
balmacedajohn13 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
saw this movie at Colorado State University...great movie. If you love satire see this movie. Hugh Grant was once again a perfect person to play the role of the "Simon" and "Ryan" role for this American Idol spoof. Dennis Quiad was as always...perfect. The only thing that I thought was week was the ending. Other than that this was a great flick. I mean Mandy Moore is always top notch and Paul Weitz is always the director to see. Dennis Quiad is always the tough guy, but he did a top notch job as the "president." Cris Klein as the dim whit boy friend was excellent. All the actors gave a brilliant performance and should be given credit for their work.
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A movie I enjoyed a lot
Argemaluco6 October 2006
Paul Weitz always makes movies which keep you fun without being great movies.These movies are American pie,Down to Earth,A good boy,In good company and the movie I'll talk about on this commentary which is American dreamz.But I think that,for the moment,American dreamz is the best movie on Weitz's career.The movie isn't great thing,but it keeps you very fun,but the best point of the movie is the script.It's very interesting the way in which Weitz could combine three stories.The satire the movie has is very good.The actors help a lot,principally Hugh Grant and Dennis Quaid.If you wanna have a very fun moment,I recommend you American dreamz.
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American Dreamz
cultfilmfan29 April 2006
American Dreamz is about several things. First off it is about the president of the United States named President Staton who has been hiding from the public for several weeks and hasn't made a public appearance in a long time. The film is also about a television show called American Dreamz which is a spoof of the popular television show American Idol and actor Hugh Grant plays the host of the show named Martin Tweed who is rounding up fresh talent to appear on his show. Two of the contestants include a bratty and self centered girl named Sally Kendoo and an Arab named Omer. Meanwhile to get the president out in the public his chief of staff books him as a guest judge on the final night of American Dreamz. Omer used to be at a terrorist training camp and once they hear about him being on the show with the president they plan for him to sneak a bomb in and kill the president. Lots of things go down on the final night of American Dreamz and a lot is satirized in this film including politics and American Idol and it's one judge Simon Cowell. The movie has good direction, a good script, good comedic performances by the cast and good original music. For me American Dreamz started out a little weak like a lame television sitcom, but the more we got to know the characters and the more the story unfolded I found myself really liking this film. I thought the comedic performances were dead on and really made the film work and I also feel that the film had some sharp writing and a good script. There are funny moments in this script and there are also some sweet moments and some good pokes at politics and television reality shows. I found the film very entertaining and this is one movie where I had no idea where it was going to go or how it was going to end, but I was very pleased with the end result. This is a very original movie and works well as a satire and a comedy. For being very original, entertaining, sharp and with dead on comedic performances and some neat surprise twists I was very entertained by American Dreamz and I liked it a lot.
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American (Z)atire
Dr_Sagan28 December 2014
This is an attempt for a multi-satire. And by that I mean a satire with far too many recipients to be really effective in any of them.

This movie tries to ...hmm...well...let's count: The dream of regular people that want basically to be famous and treated as such. Their mothers who want their children to succeed where themselves failed. The myth (?) of one true love. How ruthless can you be with other people feelings. The need for (any) heroes. The government, the POTUS and how they operate. The Jihadists who might be more into the American culture than they can admit. The long lasted public figures who are sick of themselves etc. etc. etc.

The movie as an entertainment is so-so. The cast is good and it delivers some good performances but something is missing to glue them all together. A couple of scenes are funny but i personally got a sad feeling watching this movie. Especially because of the ending which I obviously won't spoil.

Overall: Even if you have a couple of hours to spend I wouldn't recommended it. It's not bad but seems more like a hit and miss.
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Mildly Amusing
btomur25 April 2006
Based on the trailers, we didn't have very high expectations for this movie, but went to see it on a whim, since we enjoy American Idol. There was not much audience reaction, other than 5 or 6 slight chuckles. Overall,we found this film mildly amusing, but not very good. The humor was not very clever. It seemed thrown together with not much attention to creating a good script. American Idol is a too obvious target, and Bush/Cheney jokes are lame and tired by now. Perhaps three or four years ago the topical jokes might have seemed funnier. It will be a surprise to us if American Dreamz runs more than a couple of weeks in theaters.
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I want my two hours back
nzhikozaemon26 December 2006
I didn't see any trailers of this. I saw it at the DVD store, had a free coupon, figured it would be fun to watch Hugh Grant do a Simon Cowell impression, so I rented it. Lame, lame, lame. I'm embarrassed that I even watched it now. Of course, a white Pakistani from the "Middle East" on a mission to suicide bomb American Idol. Er, "Dreamz". So much potential wasted with the scenes with the president and Cheney, so much potential to make more fun of the judges and participants of American Idol, so much potential to jack up and darken the terrorist aspect. However, all sanitized, dumbed down, politically corrected, and predictable, the only part moderately entertaining was Omar spending nights in the terrorist camp. The The rest, of the time, the attempted jokes fell flat, you couldn't laugh at this thing on Nitrous Oxide. Unfunny, and a complete utter waste of time.
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