“American Dreamz” is a rather simple film that attempts to satire our love for stardom. It’s built for lovers of William Hung and “From Justin to Kelly” only even that audience, some of whom have no doubt dialed the number to vote for some of these types of characters on “American Idol,” may have a hard time with this film. It is definitely the weakest movie of the Weitz catalog and will certainly be forgotten faster than Hung himself.
Martin Tweed (Hugh Grant) is a host of the most popular show on television, American Dreamz, which (like American Idol) showcases people with not very much talent as having much more than reality has given them. Although last season was an utter success, Tweed is tired of having the same types of characters on the show week after week. So he employs his assistants to find more eccentric people for the newest season.
Meanwhile the President (Dennis Quaid morphing himself into George W. Bush), on the verge of a nervous breakdown, has just won a re-election. He locks himself in his bedroom to read newspapers instead of daily news briefs the Chief of Staff (Willem Dafoe in a sort of Dick Chaney persona) prepares for him each day. For weeks, the media speculates his current condition and his approval ratings slip by the way side. After some discussion, the President decides to make an appearance as a guest judge on American Dreamz to show the public how normal he actually is.
Then comes the terrorist plot. From Afghanistan (where everyone apparently speaks English) comes Omer (Sam Golzari), to stay with his cousin while awaiting orders from his sect. When his group finds out that he is going to be a contestant on American Dreamz while the President is judging, they assign him to strap himself up with a bomb and blow him up.
There is a lot of setup here that could lead into a profound satire but the jokes last too long. Everything – from character stereotypes to overblown plot details – are too over the top to fully appreciate. It’s obvious – we are a country with a short attention span. For some idiotic reason or another, some of us find American Idol to be a “great” show with equally great contestants. Loyalty to these people, however, isn’t quite appreciated until they put out a record. Some of them, like Kelly Clarkston, do okay but remember Clay? Remember Justin? I only know these names because of various people talking about them when those seasons were on. Once they ended, these names vanished from their vocabulary seconds later. Just like this film probably will. Instead of making dreamz come true, it will only give you nightmarez.