An American Carol

Movie title: An American Carol (2008)
Grade: D+ (1 ½ stars)
Rated: PG-13
Summation: Liberal documentary filmmaker Michael Malone is visited by three spirits to be shown the true meaning of the fourth of July and the American spirit.
Spoilers ahead: No


Watching An American Carol was an amusing experience for two reasons; the first was that the movie itself was mildly (get the emphasis) funny; the second was that the script had me laughing more at it than with it.

There came a point where I was just waiting for a Bubba or a Dixie Lee to pop on the screen describing the benefits of having a gun rack in the back of one’s truck in this raggedy rightwing escapade. Only the biggest backwoods buds on the far right of the political spectrum will get a kick out of this—and even they might not call it a favorite.

But that’s not to say it isn’t at all funny. It is…a little. It will get its share of laughs, but its “Take that, lefty!” style of presentation moves things beyond the breaking point and into “Gag me with a spoon!” territory. Those who think that abortion is baby murder or that America is crumbling morally because prayer is no longer encouraged in schools, or because nativity scenes are no longer allowed on many courthouse lawns will be less quick to judge, but they’ll come around.

In this sagging satire, Michael Moore (that nut who made Fahrenheit 911) – and less so Rosie O’Donnell – are the big targets of attack in the characters “Michael Malone” and “Rosie O’Connell.” They get slammed hard, and I did enjoy that! It was comical hearing the title of one of Malone’s documentaries: “Die You American Pigs.” Berating the far left, the movie did have its delightful moments, though not enough to offset its flaws.

As “Aziz,” Robert Davi plays a terrorist cell leader, along with his two kooky conspirators, Ahmed and Mohammed (Geoffrey Arend and Serdar Kalsin). The three are plotting against America. To get past security at the bombing site, they seek help from someone who hates America enough to remain clueless to their malicious intentions and get them “Press” passes to move about unawares.

So, they seek out Malone – the perfect anti-American patsy – well played by Kevin Farley, younger brother of the late Chris Farley (Here’s to you, Chris! *Thumbs up* Your brother did a great job!). Malone is a documentary filmmaker and a peace-at-all-costs activist who sets out on a quest to abolish the fourth of July because it is a racist and fascist holiday. Just before he is to give a speech, he is told he will be visited by three spirits…see where this is going?

An American Carol has gone out of its way on acting. Lesley Neilson narrates, Dennis Hopper is a judge, and Jon Voight plays George Washington. Kelsey Grammar comes on as General Patton, Bill O’Reilly appears as himself, and country singer Trace Adkins is the Angel of Death. James Woods is Michael’s Agent. Chriss Anglin plays John F. Kennedy, by whom Malone gets the first of many silly slaps to the face. It is at this point that the viewer is first made to ask: “Why the hell am I watching this again?”

The film has all the class of a belching drunk sitting on the back of a 1960s Chevy set up on blocks. When it would be funny, it often fumbles into a demagogue-ish goofiness. Every perceived enemy of the GOP gets attacked, including the ACLU, the zombies, the undead things that fill the courtrooms trying to destroy the Ten Commandments and everyone’s right to pray. The movie advances its we-are-believers-and-we-are-being-persecuted agenda in near childlike storytelling fashion…“and then…and then.”

Being a middle-of-the-road moderate myself, I was primed and readied for some scale-balancing, right-leaning satire for a change. Unfortunately, the agenda-driven plot didn’t attach with it enough quality humor to get very far. Seeing a bunch of actors dancing and singing about how college kids are corrupted by professors who indoctrinate by teaching secular values is a form of indoctrination all its own, consisting of a southern, upper-middle-aged, Jesus-lover’s humor at best—and I’m mincing words.



David Zucker
Starring: Trace Adkins “Angel of Death/Trace Adkins,” Kevin P. Farley “Michael Malone,” Kelsey Grammer “General George S. Patton,” Chriss Anglin “John F. Kennedy,” Robert Davi “Aziz,” Serdar Kalsin “Ahmed,” Bill O'Reilly “Himself,” Geoffrey Arend “Mohammed,” Dennis Hopper “The Judge,” Jillian Murray “Heather,” Jon Voight “George Washington,” Leslie Nielsen (Himself), James Woods “Michael's Agent”
Genre: Comedy