In this satire of modern life, Zach Galifianakis plays a man named George Washington Winsterhammerman who has a beautiful wife, a large house, a stable job in the world’s most successful corporation, and even a boat. Despite all of this he fears he is showing symptoms (which include dreams) that he might be about to literally explode, a mysterious and unexplained epidemic that is sweeping the country.
This film is jammed very obvious messages and metaphors for how we are living artificiality through celebrity advice books, pills, corporately controlled media and other suppressants for independent thought. The most apparent in the film is when George cannot please his wife sexually she religiously follows the daily advice of her favourite talk show host, dresses and eats just like her in order to change their lives around, and eventually tries to emulate her suicide, that occurred live on her show, when all else fails.
Like other dystopic visions of the very near future, such as Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, the atmosphere can become so stale and pessimistic that the film itself becomes a touch arduous to sit through. Some of the comments are plenty biting and often humourous and Galifianakis has proven himself to be a very capable performer, but George’s story is just not interesting enough to make a mark amidst all that is happening around it.
Widescreen 1.85:1. A very dissapointing, blurry picture. Everything in the frame looks like it is digitally breaking up, whether stretched on a widescreen tv or not.
Dolby Digital 5.1. The sound quality seems acceptable but I could only find one instance of the Surround being used worth noting, and that was a lone doorbell sound effect. Beyond that, the speakers are never fully utilized.
The first three are specially made promos for the film:
Introduction to Jeffers Corp: A horribly low budget (on purpose) parody of work greeting video.
Administrative Professional’s work song: Galifianakis clearly improvising a sad little song about the workplace. Obviously a favour he did for this film.
George’s Interview: George (the character) being interviewed for a new position (?). This is actually amusing, especially Zach’s attempt at laughing at the end.
Behind the Scenes Featurette: A fun and insightful enough look at the film and its making.
All in all, a valiant effort that shows the filmmakers have a lot of ideas, but just aren’t strong enough storytellers yet to do said ideas justice.