A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the movie's sharp-toothed satire is loaded with a lot of strong language, jokes about sex, and physical comedy involving blows to the crotch.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In the present, an Army private named Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson) is frozen as part of an experiment in cryogenics; a mistake means he's left frozen until 2505, where he and his fellow participant, a prostitute named Rita, (Maya Rudolph) discover a world where the trend of less-educated people to have more children (as explained in the prologue) has led to a future full of idiots with society breaking down and a drought starving America. Joe, a perfectly average man in our time, is now a super-genius by comparison; can he help fix a broken future and put it on the path back to being even barely functional?
Is it any good?
The movie is uneven, but it's so idiosyncratic and different that at the very least it stands out on its own. Written and directed by Mike Judge (Office Space, Extract), IDIOCRACY was notoriously abandoned by 20th Century Fox, who opened it on only a handful of screens during its initial theatrical run. On DVD, the film feels re-cut, as if the studio were hedging its bets, but even so the film's silly satire comes through, helped in no small part by Wilson's natural everyman charm.
Judge's comedy can be hit-or-miss in Idiocracy, but at the same time it's a product of such a distinctly skewed worldview -- Judge is, after all, the man who gave us Beavis and Butt-head -- that it also stands out as unique even in the light of its occasional failures and in its studio-altered version. Idiocracy is more silly than mean-spirited, and the film's jokes mocking the traditional vision of the future earn a lot of laughs (here plants are watered with sports drink and Costco is a degree-granting institution).
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the ideas here -- does pop culture reward people for being stupid? Is a culture of instant gratification and consumerism bad for long-term intellectual development?
Families can also talk about the movie's satirical roots -- what does this vulgar, silly comedy have in common with the work of, for example, Jonathan Swift?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love comedy
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch