Both movies were scandalously underpromoted by the studios releasing them. Judge's film sat on a shelf for two years at Fox before being hacked down to its current 84-minute running time and dumped, unadvertised, into only a few cities on the slowest movie weekend of the year. Children of Men's fate has been slightly less ignominious; it was released nationwide, largely untrumpeted, on Christmas Day, and only this week, after countless critics put the movie on their 10-best lists, has Universal rushed to mount a too-little-too-late push for Oscar consideration.Since a common theme of both these movies is the West's inability to make babies, this has Daniel Larison wondering if breeding scares Hollywood. He blogs on the subject here and here.
The burial of Children of Men was lame, but comprehensible. Figuring that few viewers would flock to such an unremitting downer of a film, Universal must have decided to market the movie modestly, hoping at least to break even with attention from art-house audiences. But Fox's choice to withhold Idiocracy even from the markets where it was most likely to find cult viewers—New York? San Francisco?—and to eschew all advertising is simply bewildering. The shrouding of Idiocracy in what amounts to a marketing burqa is especially ironic given that the film's most pointed satire is aimed at the ubiquity of advertising in American life.
Anyway, I finally got my hands on a copy of Idiocracy and watched it last night. The plot of the movie is that two Joe Schmoes are frozen as part of an Army experiment and are supposed to be brought out of their capsules in one year. (Well, one of the Joe Schmoes is a prostitute played by Maya Rudolf; the other is a very average soldier played by Luke Wilson.) When the experiment is canceled their capsules are misplaced and aren't opened for another 500 years. By this time, human beings have devolved into a race of morons because elites have stopped having children while only the underclass has continued to breed. Things have gotten so bad that crops will no longer grow because people "water" them with a sports drink--Brawn the "Thirst Mutilator"--reasoning that, after all, "Brawn's got 'lectrolytes."
It's not a great film, but if you want to have a good laugh at evolution-niks, at sophisticated yuppies who refuse to breed (DINKs--double income, no kids), and at our inane, Beavis-n-Butthead, consumerist culture, Idiocracy is your flick.