October 8, 2010
The film tells the story of two ordinary people who are taken into a top-secret military hibernation experiment that goes awry, and awaken 500 years in the future. They discover that the world has degenerated into a dystopia where advertising, commercialism, and cultural anti-intellectualism run rampant and dysgenic pressure has resulted in a uniformly stupid human society devoid of individual responsibility or consequences.
Despite its lack of a major theatrical release, the film has achieved a cult following.
During the prologue, a narrator (Earl Mann) explains that in modern society, natural selection has become indifferent toward intelligence. In a society in which intelligence is systematically debased, stupid people easily out-breed the intelligent, and over the course of time an irredeemably dysfunctional society may result. Consequently, the children of the educated and intellectual elites are drowned in a sea of sexually promiscuous, illiterate, alcoholic, vulgar and degenerate peers (i.e. stupid).
In 2005, Corporal Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson), a US Army librarian graphed as the Army’s “most average” soldier, and Rita (Maya Rudolph), a prostitute whose pimp, Upgrayedd, (pronounced as “Upgrade”) is paid to make sure she is not missed, are guinea pigs in a secret, year-long, military hibernation project. They are sealed in their hibernation chambers, to be awakened a year later, but the experiment is forgotten when the officer in charge, Lieutenant Colonel Collins, is arrested for having started his own prostitution ring under the tutelage of Upgrayedd. The military base is demolished, and a Fuddruckers (in a series of visual montages, the name Fuddruckers gradually degenerates over the intervening decades to “Buttfuckers” by the low intelligence society) is built on the site.
Five hundred years in the future, Joe and Rita’s hibernation chambers are jarred open by an enormous garbage avalanche, reviving both of them. Joe crashes into the apartment of Frito Pendejo (Dax Shepard), a typical idiot-citizen of the future United States, with an apartment full of junk food and a prominent, giant television that is covered with advertisements. A disoriented Joe heads to the hospital where he receives a diagnosis of “‘tarded” and “fucked up” from a doctor (Justin Long).
Seeing the date of 2505 on a magazine repeated on his bill, Joe realizes that 500 years have passed since he was frozen and he flees the hospital. As he interacts with the people he sees he is able to understand them, though his remarks are dismissed as pompous and “faggy”. Joe is arrested for not paying his hospital bill and for not having a barcode tattoo, which all residents have imprinted on their left arm. Meanwhile, Rita is not as shocked to see the newly changed world and quickly learns to take advantage of the lower intelligence of those around her to earn money as a prostitute.
At his trial, Joe’s public defense lawyer is none other than Frito, who stupidly helps convict him, citing the prosecutor’s insistence that Joe is guilty and his own anger at Joe for getting garbage in his apartment. Joe is imprisoned; the I.D.-tattoo machine parses Joe’s confused response as his name, branding him “Not Sure.” During an absurdly simple IQ test Joe grasps just how stupid humanity has become. Easily escaping his dim jailers by saying on arrival that he was meant to be released that day and is in the wrong line, Joe returns to Frito’s apartment, asking him if a time machine exists to help him return to 2005. Frito claims there is one, but agrees to help only after Joe promises him billions of dollars in interest on a bank account that Joe will open in the past on his return.
En route to the time machine, Joe and Frito find Rita. She does not realize that she’s been asleep for 500 years until Joe tells her so, but even so, she fears Upgrayedd will find her. Frito leads them to a city-sized Costco, where Joe is arrested again after his bar code is accidentally scanned. Instead of being returned to jail, Joe is taken to the White House to be signed in as the new Secretary of the Interior, the President (Terry Crews) having seen the results of Joe’s IQ test which show Joe as the smartest man alive. In a speech the President charges Joe with solving the world’s problems: food shortages, dust bowls, a crippled economy, and related issues.
Though Joe initially professes that he knows nothing of resolving these issues, when he discovers that the crops are watered with a Gatorade-like sports drink named “Brawndo”, he finds himself knowledgeable enough to correct the problem. The narrator comments that “Brawndo has replaced water virtually every where” and that Brawndo purchased the FDA and FCC. In response to the plan to correct the problem, White House cabinet members continuously repeated the Brawndo tag line, “Brawndo’s got what plants crave. It’s got electrolytes.”
After several failed attempts to explain to the cabinet members the importance of water in irrigation, Joe instead convinces them that he can talk to plants, and persuades the cabinet members to start irrigating the crops with water. Unbeknownst to Joe, half the country works for Brawndo and his decision to use water in the fields causes the company’s stock to plummet, causing massive unemployment, apparently without improving the crop situation. The angry population riots, and Joe is sentenced to “Rehabilitation”, a demolition derby featuring undefeated Rehabilitation Officer Beef Supreme (Andrew Wilson).
Meanwhile, Rita discovers that Joe’s reintroduction of water to the soil has finally made vegetation sprout in the fields. To save Joe (and with Frito in tow), she bribes a TV cameraman to show the thriving crops to the world. Imperiled, Joe gives a heartfelt speech, asking everyone if they really want to kill the one person who’s trying to help them, but is simply laughed at. Just in time, Frito shows the thriving crops. The President sees the thriving new plants on the stadium’s big screen televisions and gives Joe a full pardon just as he is about to be incinerated by a flamethrower. At the celebration, Joe decides to stay and help repair civilization and the President names Joe Vice President. He later finds that the time machine spoken of earlier is simply a highly inaccurate amusement park history ride.
Joe serves a short term as Vice President and is subsequently elected to the presidency. During his acceptance speech, Joe is heard making statements to the effect that in his time, reading “wasn’t just for fags” and that movies had plots that made people care “whose ass it was and why it was farting”, the last referring to a previous scene in the movie, where Joe went to a cinema to watch a comedic movie named “Ass”, which consisted of a static image of a naked bottom accompanied by sounds of flatulence. The narrator states that, although Joe did not save humanity from itself, he did put it back on the track toward intelligence. Joe and Rita marry and have the world’s three smartest children, while Frito, now Joe’s Vice President, takes eight wives and fathers thirty-two of the world’s stupidest children, echoing the introduction to the film.
After the credits, a third hibernation capsule is shown opening, releasing a snappily dressed Upgrayedd intent on tracking down Rita.
Link: Idiocracy on IMDB