For millions of years, evolution has been moving forward - until now, that is. With intelligent people breeding less and stupid people breeding more, the ratio of the idiots to the clever is overbalanced in favour of the idiots, so by the year 2500, there have been a lot of changes. But back in 2005, an average soldier who is quietly making his living by working in the army library is nominated for a new experiment in suspended animation. He is Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson), and along with a female test subject, prostitute Rita (Maya Rudolph), is preserved for a year. Or that's the idea. For when they both wake up, it's five centuries in the future...
And not only that, but they're the smartest people around because the idiots have taken over. Such is the premise director Mike Judge, who scripted by Etan Cohen, set up for his one joke movie Idiocracy, and it should have been a highly provocative one. Perhaps Judge hoped it would be a small but necessary wake up call to the world, but his efforts were sabotaged by the dreaded test audiences who hated being told they were stupid and the film was barely released - yet it did find a welcoming audience on DVD, if that was any consolation.
As with just about all science fiction, Idiocracy is about the time it was made rather than the time it depicts, and essentially represents about ninety minutes of Judge exasperatedly yelling, "GAAH! Why are people so stupid nowadays?!" Subtlety is not the film's strong suit, so when the resolutely normal, everyday, unspectacular Joe ends up in the future and is by far the most intelligent man on Earth, this means he is seen as "pompous and faggy" due to being cleverer than everyone he meets, which quickly lands him in trouble.
The population have let garbage dumps overtake the landscape, nobody drinks water anymore as soft drinks corporations have persuaded them that water is only fit for toilets, the most popular blockbuster at the cinemas is called "Ass" and features an ass farting for an hour and a half (it's Oscar-nominated, of course) and the most popular television show is "Ow! My Balls!" which has its lead character injured in the testicles over and over again for the whole episode. This means there are a wealth of social problems such as pollution and the fact that water isn't used in agriculture (they use a drink called "Brawndo" instead), and nobody wants to suggest solutions lest they be called gay and lampooned. Yes, it's heavy handed, but Judge isn't exactly using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
Joe goes on the run after his visit to the hospital renders him so shocked that he's in the future that he doesn't pay his bill, but is quickly picked up by the police and winds up in court. His lawyer turns out to be Frito (Dax Shepard), the man whose apartment he crashed into when he was revived, and spends more time accusing him of interrupting his TV watching than defending him. However, Joe easily escapes jail by telling a guard he is supposed to be released today (he is believed) and sets out to find Rita, who is taking cash from a potential client by regularly telling him to come back later. One thing leads to another and the duo are soon on the hunt for a time machine to return home, but there's the problem of Joe being drafted into the government who wish to capitalise on his brainpower. Idiocracy is a strange hybrid: we're supposed to laugh at the stupid jokes while still feeling superior, but if you watch the news and constantly wonder what makes people so consistently foolish, you may sympathise with this. It is more depressing than funny, though. Music by Theodore Shapiro.