Satire rocks in ‘American Dreamz’

Franklin Kao

From director/writer Paul Weitz (American Pie, In Good Company), comes an in-your-face and very humorous satire called American Dreamz. This film pokes fun at a variety of subjects, stretching from politics to American Idol to life in Orange County.

Dreamz centers around a large bundle of characters and situations. Included are aspiring singer Sally Kendoo (Mandy Moore), who grew up in a “white trash” area of the Midwest; the confused and dim-witted President Staton (Dennis Quaid); the self-deprecating host of Idol-esque reality show American Dreamz, Martin Tweed (Hugh Grant); and Omer (Sam Golzari), a teenager from Iraq who loves show tunes. The characters all intersect because Sally and Omer are the front-runners on Dreamz, and Staton is a guest judge on the big finale.

Omer’s storyline is the best. Newcomer Golzari plays an interesting character that is sent to Orange County from Iraq because of his failure in his terrorist training camp. Omer now lives with his uncle, two cousins and aunt (brilliantly played by Oscar-nominated Shohreh Aghdashloo). It’s amusing to watch how Omer differs from both his terrorist family – who lives back in Iraq – and his family from Orange County, who is only concerned with money and vanity. One of the funniest characters in the film, however, is Omer’s foppish and outgoing cousin, Iqbal (Tony Yalda), who loves to sing and dance to Rick James’ “Superfreak.”

NU alumnus Seth Meyers, Communication ’96, who plays Sally’s agent, Chet Krogl, is also brilliant. Chet’s goal is to do everything possible to help Sally win the competition, including lying to her boyfriend and flaunting her “white trash-ness.”

Although I don’t endorse all the movie’s jokes, most of them are hilariously offensive and sharp. And, even though the film so deliberately spoofs American culture and politics, its refreshing to kick back and chuckle – even if the joke’s on us.

– Franklin Kao