Mike Judge’s Office Space was met with critical indifference and box office chump change upon its release in 1999. It was only when it came to DVD that it captured a cult following, who rightly recognised the superbly observed dissection of numbing corporate culture as one of the most underrated comedies of the last 20 years.
So, when Fox barely released Judge’s follow-up Idiocracy in the US and shunted it straight to DVD here, the feeling in the Total Film office was that the creator of Beavis And Butthead had once again been stuffed by lobotomised studio execs. Eighty-four minutes and three laughs later, the awful truth dawns: Idiocracy just isn’t very good. That’s a shame when the original premise shows some real promise: ordinary Joe army clerk Luke Wilson is put in experimental hibernation and wakes up 500 years from now, to discover society has devolved to such an extent that he’s now the smartest guy in the world. The government resembles World Wrestling Entertainment and America’s most popular sit-com is Ow, My Balls! – where a bloke is, yes, continually kicked in the nuts.
Sadly, this is about as incisive as Idiocracy gets. As a satire it’s too broad, while as a story it’s barely coherent, disregarding internal logic in favour of gags that are way too obvious. While OfficeSpace lampooned Generation Xers with sly affection, Idiocracy plays as a charmless attack on the working class; misanthropic and bitter and – the worst crime for a comedy – not funny.