Movie Review

An American Carol

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for rude and irreverent content, and for language and brief drug material.

Reviewed by: David Criswell, Ph.D.
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Teens, Family
Genre:
Comedy, Fantasy
Length:
_____
Year of Release:
2008
USA Release:
October 3, 2008
DVD: December 30, 2008
Copyright, Vivendi Entertainment Copyright, Vivendi Entertainment Copyright, Vivendi Entertainment Copyright, Vivendi Entertainment Copyright, Vivendi Entertainment Copyright, Vivendi Entertainment Copyright, Vivendi Entertainment Copyright, Vivendi Entertainment Copyright, Vivendi Entertainment Copyright, Vivendi Entertainment
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Vivendi Entertainment

What part should morality play in politics? Answer

Does character matter in political leaders? Answer

Voting—Do Christians have an obligation to vote? Answer

Should Christians seek political power or should we only focus on evangelism? Answer

Featuring: Kevin P. Farley
Kelsey Grammer
Jon Voight
James Woods
Dennis Hopper
Geoffrey Arend
Leslie Nielsen
Kevin Sorbo
Jenna Vogeler, more »
Director: David Zucker
“The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!,” “Airplane!,” “The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear”
Producer: Mpower Pictures, Mike Ades, Stephen McEveety, Tim Moore, John Shepherd, Myrna Sokoloff, David Zucker
Distributor: Vivendi Entertainment

“Laugh like your country depends on it.”

It is no small irony that “An American Carol” came out on the same day as the anti-Christian, atheistic propaganda film “Religulous.” Jewish filmmaker David Zucker has said that he is tired of all the Christian-bashing in popular culture, and, to that end, he decided it was time for a film that would poke fun at the far left in America. He calls this film “the opposite of the Bill Maher movie.” Of course, “An American Carol” is really about politics, not religion, but because the far left despises religion, there are many references to Christianity, the Ten Commandments, and the like in the film. One scene shows a Rosie O'Connell repeating verbatim Rosie O'Donnell remarks that “radical Christians are as dangerous as radical Muslims.” She then shows a “documentary” of a nun rushing about a bus shouting “Hail Mary” and blowing herself up! Obviously, the film is mocking the absurdities of people like Rosie O'Donnell, but mostly the film mocks pro-Communist filmmaker Michael Moore.

Kevin P. Farley, the brother of Chris Farley, looks perfect for the role of Michael Malone. One would hardly be able to tell the two apart from a distance. Kelsey Grammer portrays General Patton. “An American Carol” also features a somewhat long list of cameos from Leslie Nielson, Jon Voight, Paris Hilton, James Wood, Dennis Hopper, Gary Coleman, and country music star Trace Adkins. For those who don’t remember, David Zucker is the man who brought us the “Airplane” and “Naked Gun” movies.

The film begins in Afghanistan where terrorist are plotting to disrupt an election. The terrorist calls out for a man named “Mohammad,” about a hundred men pop their heads up and answer “yes.” Following a failed terrorist attack, the leader decides they need to recruit new suicide bombers, as “all the best ones are dead.” They then decide that hiring a Hollywood director to make their recruiting film would be the best option. The scene then cuts to Michael Malone “on the tropic paradise of Cuba.” While Malone is extolling the virtues of Cuba over America, one person is shot in the background. Later, Malone decides it would be a good idea to abolish July 4th. What follows is the attempt of the Ghost of George Patton to reform our anti-American filmmaker in the tradition of “A Christmas Carol”. Along the way, the film pokes fun at the ACLU, Movealong.org (Moveon.org), Rosie O'Donnell, and other far left groups.

As with most David Zucker comedies, there is an ample supply of crude humor. There are sexual jokes, including a couple implying homosexual sex is taking place in a bathroom (it isn’t), a promiscuous woman allegedly has sex with dozens of men, and some other sexual/homosexual jokes. There is some brief nudity, as a man is forced to have a rectal, body cavity search before being allowed on an airplane. There are at least thirty obscene cuss words, most of which are the s___ word, whose vulgarity is increased by the fact that many of these words come out of the mouths of children! Surprisingly, there is also quite a bit of violence. This is most evident when Patton attempts to protect a court of law from an invasion of Zombie Lawyers (who work for the ACLU). The zombies are shot with shotguns, and there is blood shown squirting out of their bodies. Slapstick violence is also prevalent.

Now, considering all of this, one must decide if the film is worth seeing. The answer depends on your own political and spiritual convictions. The film was not screened in advance for critics, because Zucker knew that the liberal media (which will praise the movie “W.” and likes “Religilous”) would “kill” the film. Support for this movie will certainly not change the left wing media, but could show that Christians and conservatives should not be ignored. The film is amusing, but not up to Zucker’s early works. It is, however, an improvement over his last few films. There were cheers and applause following the movie, so the film will definitely strike a cord with many. Nevertheless, I would caution against taking young children. Teenagers have certainly heard far worse in this day and age. I enjoyed “An American Carol” and was glad to see Zucker getting back to basics. It was also nice to see a film that respects America coming from Hollywood. I give the film 3½ stars. It is not Zucker’s best work, but it might be his most important work (if a slapstick comedy can be considered important). Certainly, it is his most courageous film, given Hollywood’s perchance for blacklisting conservatives. I wish Zucker the best of luck.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—This movie finally mocks all that is so truly “mock worthy” about liberal anti-American views. It was very well done and is really hilarious, the performances were top-notch. Best of all it forces any thinking person to examine how truly absurd the positions held by most of the media elites who all too often frame the view of so many other common Americans. Two segments in particular make points that desperately need to be made. One shows the rank propaganda used to link all Christians to the religions fundamentalist Taliban stereotype. The other demonstrates sadly how our system of higher education has become a cancerous anti-American, anti-Christian indoctrination camp. Although these segments, along with the whole movie, are of course a spoof meant to lampoon the left in an entertaining way, the great irony is the caricature is not really very far a field of reality. I spend a huge amount of time on college campuses and the majority of those I speak with actually think just like the movies portrays. As an American I loved this movie!

As a Christian, I must acknowledge the humor gets a little irreverent at times, and the language a bit crude. However, nothing compared to most movies. Another negative they have some children using some mild bad language—I never enjoy seeing that in a film. So do not take your children to see this movie. However, mature adults will greatly benefit in seeing modern political correctness for what it really, really is—anti-American and anti-Christian. Not only can this move the narrative a few tics to the right, you will have very great and entertaining time in the process.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Ken, age 46
Positive—My husband and I decided to go and see this movie on opening weekend; we wanted to cast our vote in favor of a pro-American, pro-military, pro-Christian movie. We saw it on Saturday and were still talking about it at breakfast on Sunday—it was that funny!! I personally LOVE the “Airplane” and “Naked Gun” humor, and so, of course, I laughed through most of “An American Carol.” As a born-again believer, the ridiculous, slap-stick, violence does not offend me at all; though I am sure many people will not prefer this type of silly comedy that Jerry Zucker is a master of. There are so many great scenes in this movie poking fun at some of the mindless doctrines of the far-left!

We chose not to take our 11-year old and I am very happy with that decision. This movie is not for young children at all. But I would highly recommend it as a date movie. Go and see it and let Hollywood know that your opinion is out there—you love your American freedom and you are sick and tired of the “mainstream media” only supporting the point of view of the left.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Lisa Woodard, age 39
Positive—About time!! This type of movie, albeit with less crude humor and language, should be the rule not the exception. It made some really good points I’m sure will not be lost on the liberal anti-American left in Hollyweird. Highly recommended for adults and probably ok for mid-teens and older.
There were some times in the movie I laughed so hard I had to control myself! That hasn’t happened in a long time.
Of course, as a Christian, I must realize my ultimate loyalty is to His kingdom not any earthly ones.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Lee Rand, age 59
Positive—My wife and I viewed this film and was amazed at the truths presented in comedy form. General Patton, one of my heroes, was one of the spirits visiting Michael. He was great. The movie made me think about the need for fighting at times in our history like the Civil War, WW1 And WW2. If we had not fought and had remained neutral. I loved the film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Ken Johanson, age 61
Positive—This is not a movie for children; I have to stress that. If you are a strong Christian and/or Patriotic person and understand what is going on in our world, you will be able to oversee the lewdness in this movie. You have to understand; this movie was written by a patriotic person who loves his/her country. I believe that wholeheartedly. So, keeping that in mind; go watch it. You will be glad you did… Patriotism is what this is all about.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Sandra, age 47
Positive—Great flick. Very funny. Laughed constantly. It was quite refreshing to get our viewpoint out there among all the dismal left wing drival that we are usually subjected to. It is a well done work that, unlike most efforts today, makes you feel happy and upbeat when you leave the theater. This one gives you a lift. A must see.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Gary Parsons, age 57
Positive—I realize that the non-politically correct, sometimes crude humor and language (a half dozen or so uses of the s-word) may throw people off, but I was surprised how good of a movie this actually was. It started out being a mockery and wound up with some very patriotic and moving moments, particularly centered around George Washington, a man of remarkable faith. As a conservative, I was thrilled to be able to laugh out loud at some of the outrageous things the “far left” have thrown at us. Being able to find humor compatible with my political views has rarely happened before, and that made it unique and enjoyable. However, the brief crass humor was also unfortunate and makes it inappropriate for younger audiences. In fact, a friend walked out with her younger siblings because she felt it was inappropriate for them, so my advice is that parents screen this before considering taking their younger children. (Which may not be wise anyway, since most of the gags will go over their heads unless they are politically savvy.)

I enjoyed it. My parents enjoyed it. My brother enjoyed it. Most of my friends enjoyed it. But we were able to look past the film and see it as a “conservative movie” rather than a “conservative movie aimed at Christians.” I wish it could be been toned down a tad, but that doesn’t stop it from having a profound impact. And from generating more than a few laughs at the expense of dumb-as-cluck terrorists.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Charity Bishop, age 25
Positive—With the normal Hollywood movies being so extreme left wing my husband and I were excited to see a movie that mocks the left instead of us (the right); Plus, my husband loves slapstick humor. We were both surprised at how much we enjoyed the movie. I would not take a child to it, but I felt very comfortable as a Christian woman sitting through it. We have both recommended it to others, and will continue to. We laughed the whole way through the show. Go and enjoy!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Danielle, age 27
Positive—This was a great American movie. It was so good to see a movie that showed the good side of our great country. I wish more people would see it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Diana Harton, age 46
Positive—I was sorry the movie was not better. It was too full of cursing and vulgarity. The humor was strained in many places, such as the scene in the restaurant where one terrorist kept on pushing the face of the other terrorist into plates of food. The part about the handicapped children I did not find funny.

But I am glad it was made because someone has to say something good about the US and point out the absurdity of the anti-american left. The scenes showing crazed nuns and priests committing suicide bombings were very funny. The movie also made the legitimate point that JFK was not a modern day liberal. He would never have embraced the nation’s enemies, as so many have today who claim to be following his lead.

The move was kinder to the Moore character than I expected. He is portrayed as a basically decent guy who just does not understand. I don’t know if this is true, but it works in the movie. The movie is also kind to muslims. It does not mock the religion or make them out to be monsters. The terrorists have a three stooges kind of act, with one comic book bad stooge and two who are not bad but just kind of confused. In fact, the movie is much kinder to its targets that the movies Moore makes are to his targets.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Minda, age 27
Positive—To see a conservative point of view lampooning the American Left on the big screen is so unusual it was almost disorienting to me… but I loved it. I laughed out loud many times! To attack the bastions of the liberal university professors (amidst horrified parents), to lampoon the idea that Christian conservatives are as dangerous to others as Islamic Jihadists, to wrestle away icons of the Left, such as JFK, and show that even he had more common sense than many of today’s uber-liberals… well, it was truly a delight. Sure, some of it was corny and even a bit over the top patriotic but, like other viewers, I left the theater with a big smile on my face.

Our local liberal-leaning daily newspaper was so incensed by this movie, their reviewer would not even give it 1 star out of 4! They always award a movie, no matter how pornographic or anti-American, at least 1 star (“Religulous,” by contrast, was given 2½ stars), but they wouldn’t even cast “American Carol” a single star. That alone made this movie a “must see” for me and I was happy to send a piece of my ticket money to Zucker to produce more of the same in the future—the guy has guts in buckets!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Scott, age 54
Positive—Very funny. One of the best comedies I have seen in years. It makes you happy. It will give you a positive feeling as you leave the theater. Our side of the spectrum finally gets its movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Gary Parsons, age 60
Positive—Great to see somebody take jabs at the liberals, for once, especially that Michael Moore guy, he’s annoying… It is a conservative film, but remember that conservative and Christian aren’t the same thing, because there are a few cuss words (d’oh).
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Tim, age 25 (USA)
Positive—I am a strong Christian, a conservative and a patriot. I loved this movie and laughed out load in many scenes. It was so “on target” in so many different areas. While liberals loved other Zucker films, they criticized this for being unfunny. The material is funny. They just can’t laugh at themselves. I will buy a copy on DVD.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jay V., age 52 (USA)
Positive—I suppose we’ve all had at one time or another that friend or acquaintance whose speech and actions can be at times quite needlessly off-color, but with whom in the grand scheme of things we get along rather well because they otherwise tend to hold the conservative beliefs and ideologies we ascribe to ourselves. That’s kind of like what this movie was for me.

Most secular film reviewers out there are saying something like this: “All politics aside, this movie is just very unfunny.” I tend to agree with them. In other words, if you removed the politics from this movie—that is, the profusion of liberal lies and perversions rampant in our society it ridicules so poignantly—this movie just wouldn’t be funny because it would rely entirely upon cheap vulgarity for its laughs.

I can see why secular reviewers find nothing funny at all in this movie—because it’s making fun of them and all their favorite extremely liberal beliefs. It’s not so fun when the tables turn and all the laughs are at your expense is it, Hollywood? I thought this film contained some inspiredly funny gags and thoughts on those liberal ideas and beliefs; especially funny were Rosie O'Donnell’s portrayal and what she had to say in this film about Christianity. It was both absurd and oh-so richly fun to watch.

I saw this on DVD. All told, it probably remains the best way to see it. While I enjoyed immensely someone making a comedy that actually lampoons liberals for a change in an often-adroit manner, I just wouldn’t have wanted to pay theatre costs and then deal with its vulgarity. But I’ll still remember it as a movie I liked.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Nills, age 24 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—I appreciate the intention of this movie to show the injustice and foolishness of the left wing/liberal attitude toward all things Christian and patriotic. But the script is so crude and the thematic development so simplistic that it is unfortunate that the good message is weakened by such low class quality of moviemaking. I am not against seeing the movie; just disappointed in the way it was constructed. We need to have better movies showing a righteous point of view on our national and international issues.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Halyna, age 62
Negative
Negative—After hearing that this film was going to portray the conservative point of view, four of us, all Christians, made a point to go to the first day it came to theatres locally. We were appalled at the vulgarity and sophomoric so-called humor that was displayed in this film.
Yes, there was a thin thread of patriotism running through the poorly-written script, and there was one scene involving George Washington and the wreckage of the Twin Towers that was fairly moving, but by and large, it was a terrible movie.
If the conservatives in Hollywood think this is what fellow conservatives in flyover country consider entertainment, they’ve got another think coming.
Movies of the ’40s and 50s prove that excellent films can be made without vulgarity and with good moral values.
If you find the idea of a body cavity search displayed on the screen funny, you might like this movie. Otherwise, stay away!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1½
—Ellen, age 59
Negative—This movie was filthy and embarrassing. Conservatives and Christians should disavow themselves from this film. The acting was terrible, the jokes were as humorless as I can imagine, and any conservative point that may have been made was totally lost in the vulgarity of making light of things like the holocaust, American slavery, and people blowing themselves up in the name of GOD. Me and my wife walked out after about 40 minutes, we were the second group of people to walk out of the film. While I would love for a truly insightful conservative film to be made, this certainly was not it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1
—Aaron Walker, age 29
Negative—Forget saving conservatism, save the movie! As an evangelical christian and a moral-majority conservative, I must confess that I was completely deceived by the commercials for this movie that were played heavily on conservative talk-radio. I almost felt obligated to support this movie. Just because the advertising says something is conservative, it doesn’t mean that it is a clean, moral, and well-made movie. In addition to the innuendo and filth, the plot was horrible and unfunny.

Now I see why the movie was not allowed to be viewed by major critics. Frankly, I am tired of many of us in the conservative movement saying that if something is justly criticized, then it is because of liberal anti-american bias. Call me corny, but I was hoping for a Frank Capra “It’s a Wonderful Life” kind of movie. Pro-family, pro-life, pro-morality, pro-christian, pro-american. That is the real conservative message.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1
—Kyle Barrier, age 46 (USA)
Negative—I was very excited about seeing “An American Carol,” but was let down big time. Though I know about David Zucker’s past movies (“Airplane,” “Scary Movie” 3, 4) have a lot of questionable material, I for some reason didn’t expect it to be in this movie. My thought process was that a movie which was based on conservative values would be conservative (good clean humor). I was wrong. “An American Carol” has the same language and sexual innuendo’s as David Zucker’s past movies. These caused my wife and I to leave after only thirty minutes. Overall, acting wise, the story is slow and the actors are stale. A few laughs here and there but mainly were expected because they were all seen in the commercials.

I really wanted to like this movie, and I was let down. This is a case of a filmmaker not knowing his audience. You don’t make a “conservative” based movie with the same filth as any other movie. Definitely do not bring the kids, and I wouldn’t recommend it, at all.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Aron Maberry, age 23
Comments from young people
Positive—…it was okay. The cool thing though is that Jenna Vogeler went to my elementary school and we were good friends. No lie. It was so cool to see her in a movie. I remember one time she was in a commercial for like toothpaste or something.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Anna, age 13 (USA)