American Dreamz (12A)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner19/04/2006

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 107 mins

Enjoyable, sharply-observed satire with a great script and strong comic performances from the entire cast.

What’s it all about?
Hugh Grant plays cynical host Martin Tweed, whose Pop Idol style show American Dreamz is the biggest show on TV. For the new season, he focuses on three ratings-grabbing dreamers: ambitious, all-American Southern belle Sally (Mandy Moore), rapping rabbi Sholem (Adam Busch) and a showtunes-loving Middle Eastern immigrant named Omer (Sam Golzari) who’s actually a sleeper terrorist awaiting activation.

When Omer’s terrorist operatives learn that President Staton (Dennis Quaid) is to appear on the show’s live final as a guest judge, they conceive a plan for Omer to detonate a suicide bomb, setting the stage for a truly explosive finale.

The Good
Paul Weitz’s sharply-observed script crackles with good lines and takes a series of satirical potshots at the relationship between politics and the media in the US, as well as the current obsession with instant celebrity reality TV shows. Personal targets aren’t safe either. Grant is a thinly-veiled version of Simon Cowell, while Quaid’s President Staton is at least sixty per cent George Bush.

The ensemble cast are superb, delivering strong comic performances across the board. Grant and Quaid are both terrific but the show is stolen by sweet-faced Sam Golzari, who somehow makes it okay to be rooting for a terrorist.

The Great
The film is surprisingly dark in places and a lot of the satire is subtle but effective. The musical numbers work well too, meaning that the film also delivers on the level of a competition movie.

Worth seeing?
In short, American Dreamz is a surprisingly effective, frequently hilarious satire that’s definitely worth seeing. Recommended.

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American Dreamz (12A)
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Content updated: 20/11/2017 17:04

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