American Dreamz

Rated 2.0

When you take Dennis Quaid and Marcia Gay Harden mugging up a storm—calling each other “Poopie” and such—as a dimwitted president and first lady; add Hugh Grant aping American Idol’s Simon Cowell with Mandy Moore aping Kelly Clarkson, plus a reluctant TV talent-show jihadist (Sam Golzari) who’s more partial to Streisand than to suicide bombing, what you get is a whole lotta nothin’. But writer-director Paul Weitz, formerly of American Pie and About a Boy, would prefer to call it a satire; Weitz wants to have “something to say,” however soft-hearted and soft-focused it happens to be. Thing is, we’re already plenty wise to the nauseating confluence of politics and pop-culture—and tired of it. This movie, full of easy swipes at easy targets, comes off like that overly chummy guy at a party who got drunk too early and goes around taking too long to set up a joke that’s already been beaten to death.