An American Carol

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on October 6, 2008

I caught the late matinee showing of David Zucker's latest film "An American Carol" this afternoon. I'm pretty sure that I was the youngest person in the audience by at least a decade.

In a case of not knowing your audience, the last trailer before the movie started was for Oliver Stone's upcoming anti-Bush movie "W". There were more than a few murmurs of disapproval as it became apparent what the film was about.

"An American Carol" is a funny film. From the guy behind the movies "Airplane!" and the "Naked Gun" trilogy, you go in knowing the kind of humor you're going to get. There's a lot of funny slapstick -- literally -- with much of it directed toward the Michael Moore Malone character. Something that's likely to elude anyone who didn't see the movie "Patton" or familiar with the American general's storied career is the line that Malone delivers when he discovers who this Army general is who is haunting him: "Well, that explains the slapping."

There are some truly funny lines in the movie -- and there is a certain satisfaction in imagining the slaps and the insults being directed toward Malone are hitting their target in Moore. Perhaps the funniest part of the movie is a "peace" protest that Malone speaks at at Columbia University. The college students mindlessly chant whatever the last three words to come out of Malone's mouth are, regardless of whether it makes sense  or not. One character asks what a protest is -- and the reply is something along the lines of "a gathering where students proclaim their ignorance -- loudly."

Kevin Farley, brother of late Saturday Night Live great Chris Farley, does an excellent job as Malone. Kelsey Grammer (Patton) and Leslie Nielson (narrator and terrorist beheader) also put on a good show. The scene-stealer, however, is Robert Davi as the terrorist mastermind.

Where the movie falls down is the end. The conversion of anti-American filmmaker Malone is not exactly believable, though that may be a failing of the source material.

It's not going to win any Oscars, but it is fun. And it's a relief for a change to go to a movie where the liberals are the butt of the jokes and not the religious or the conservatives.

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