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American Dreamz is a 2006 American comedy film directed by Paul Weitz. It satirizes both popular entertainment and American politics during the second Bush administration, called a cultural satire by Weitz. Reviews were mixed and the film grossed just $16 million on a budget of $17 million.
On the morning after his re-election, US President Joseph Staton (Dennis Quaid) decides to read the newspaper for the first time in four years. This starts him down a slippery slope. He begins reading obsessively, reexamining his black-and-white view of the world in a more gray-seeming way, and holing up in his bedroom in his pajamas. Frightened by the President s apparent nervous breakdown, his Chief of Staff (Willem Dafoe) pushes him back into the spotlight, booking him as a guest judge on the television ratings juggernaut (and the President s wife s personal favorite) talent show American Dreamz. America cannot seem to get enough of American Dreamz, hosted by self-aggrandizing, self-loathing Martin Tweed (Hugh Grant), ever on the lookout for the next insta-celebrity. His latest crop of hopefuls includes Sally Kendoo (Mandy Moore), a conniving steel magnolia with a devoted, dopey veteran boyfriend William Williams (Chris Klein), and Omer Obeidi (Sam Golzari).
Because Omer s mother died in the Middle East in an American attack, he joined a group of jihadists. He was an actor in an instruction film for terrorists, but he was too clumsy, and his interest in show tunes was frowned upon. Therefore, he was sent to the U.S. to await further instructions, but the leaders expected they could not use him. He moved to Southern California to live with his extended family there, including his effeminate cousin Iqbal (Tony Yalda) and Shazzy (Noureen DeWulf). Iqbal hoped to be selected to participate in American Dreamz, but in a misunderstanding, Omer was selected instead. Iqbal becomes angered by this at first but later agrees to help Omer win and makes himself his manager.
Omer s terrorist organization now sees an opportunity: Omer is instructed to make it to the finale, and kill the President in a suicide attack. He succeeds in getting to the finale. Security is bypassed by assembling the bomb after the security check, in the toilet, from small parts smuggled in (the smaller pieces of explosive are disguised as chewing gum). Omer agrees, but changes his mind and disposes of the bomb in the trash can.
Sally is the other finalist. Earlier in the film, she had dumped William because she believed that her life would ve gone nowhere if she still had him for a boyfriend and that he d only drag her down. This drove William to join the army, only to be wounded in Iraq and sent back to the U.S. For the purpose of the show and at the insistence of her agent, Chet Krogl (Seth Meyers), Sally has to pretend that she still loves William. On the eve of the American Dreamz finale, William proposes to Sally, which she rejects until Chet decides to boost Sally s popularity and chances of winning the show by asking William to do the proposal on air. However, William witnesses Sally having sex with Martin, and is furious. When he throws out the engagement ring, he finds the bomb Omer tossed in the trash can. He then comes out on stage and threatens to detonate it. While the other people evacuate, William starts singing and Martin, who refuses to let go of the camera, films it. As William reaches the end of the song, he detonates the bomb by walking into the camera, killing both himself and Martin. The film then cuts to shots of people dialing up their cell phones to vote in for the winner. It is eventually revealed that William Williams was voted the surprise winner of American Dreamz.
The epilogue reveals what each of the characters went on to do after the end of last season. Omer went on to become a successful star of his own Broadway revue, where he is shown performing a scene from the musical Grease, the President makes his wife his new chief of staff and Sally Kendoo becomes the new host of American Dreamz.
- Hugh Grant as Martin Tweedy Tweed
- Dennis Quaid as President Joseph Staton
- Marcia Gay Harden as First Lady
- Willem Dafoe as Chief of Staff
- Mandy Moore as Sally Kendoo
- Chris Klein as William Williams
- Jennifer Coolidge as Martha Kendoo
- Sam Golzari as Omer Obeidi
- Seth Meyers as Chet Krogl
- Judy Greer as Deborah Accordo
- John Cho as Frank Ittles
- Tony Yalda as Iqbal Riza
- Noureen DeWulf as Shabnam Shazzy Riza
- Shohreh Aghdashloo as Nazneen Riza
- Adam Busch as Sholem Glickstein
- Jeff Ross as American Dreamz finale pre-show announcer (uncredited)
Although the singing contest depicted in the film has been interpreted as a direct satire of American Idol, Paul Weitz said in an interview that the similarities are almost accidental, and that the showrunner is not based on Simon Cowell but on Hugh Grant himself: a depressive, morbid but really funny, cynical guy … too egotistical to have any other judges so it s just him kind of projected up on screen judging the contestants . Weitz went on to call the film a cultural rather than a political satire.
American Dreamz grossed $7.2 million in the United States, and $9.5 million in other territories, for a worldwide total gross of $16.7 million.
The film opened on April 21, 2006 and made $3.7 million in its first weekend, placing ninth.
In the Netherlands, the film debuted at #7, dropping to #10 in its second week. As of June 14, 2006, the film has grossed a total of €92,432 in the Netherlands. In Spain, the film debuted at #11, earning $109,681 in 50 theatres. The following week it dropped to #15, grossing $58,467.
On review website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 38% based on 183 reviews, with an average rating of 5.29/10. The website s critics consensus reads: A cheerfully silly satire with an unfortunate lack of focus, American Dreamz takes aim at numerous targets, but isn t pointed enough for relevant social commentary. Metacritic, assigned the film a weighted average score of 45 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating mixed or average reviews . Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of C− on an A+ to F scale.
Giving the film a C+ in her review, Rebecca Murray writes that Weiz tried to do too much: Simply put, American Dreamz suffers from an overabundance of subplots and characters. There s so much going on, the comedy can t survive the film s scattershot approach. Leonard Maltin in his book 151 Best Movies You ve Never Seen says director Weitz holds a mirror up to American society and uses humor to help us see ourselves at our best, and at our worst.
The film s soundtrack was released April 18, 2006 by Lakeshore Records.
American Dreamz was released on DVD in the United Kingdom on July 2, 2006, and was released in the United States on October 17, 2006. It was released in Australia later that year.
|Plot||The new season of “American Dreamz,” the wildly popular television singing contest, has captured the country’s attention, as the competition looks to be between a young Midwestern gal (Moore) and a showtunes-loving young man from …|
|Awards||Awards, 1 nomination|
|Stars||Hugh Grant, Dennis Quaid, Mandy Moore|
|Produced by||Kerry Kohansky-Roberts,Rodney Liber,Andrew Miano,Chris Weitz,Paul Weitz|
|Music by||Stephen Trask|
|Cinematography by||Robert Elswit|
|Film Editing by||Myron Kerstein|
|Casting By||Joseph Middleton|
|Production Design by||William Arnold|
|Art Direction by||Sue Chan|
|Set Decoration by||David Smith|
|Costume Design by||Molly Maginnis|
|Makeup Department||Simone Almekias-Siegl,Steve Artmont,Ron Berkeley,David Fields,Deborah K. Larsen,Edward Morrison,Kelly Nelson,Barbara Olvera,Marianna Elias,Rob Hinderstein,Marsha Shearrill|
|Production Management||Robert Hackl,Andrew G. La Marca,Miguel Ángel Poveda|
|Second Unit Director or Assistant Director||Alexander H. Gayner,Danny Green,Mark Anthony Little,Michael T. McNerney,Cecilia Sweatman|
|Art Department||Ruben Abarca,Paul ‘Eel’ Anderson,Bennett Andrews,Ellis J. Barbacoff,Cliff Bergman,Tony Bonaventura,John Bratton,Richard Brunton,Ernie Cardona,Peggy Casey,Marienus Cetani Sr.,Scott Edward Collins,Mike Cunningham,Mario D’Alfonso,Eric DeWaay,Canada Johanna Gordon,Brenner Hugh Harris,Eric Hill,Christian Kastner,Adam Khalid,Elizabeth Lapp,Ray Lopez,Cameron Matheson,William F. McLaughlin,Sam Mendoza,Steven M. Miller,David M. Milstien,Jefferson Murff,Terry Nagel,Roger Prater,Lazar Samarzich,Kelly Schultz,Alexa Shushan,Hunter Woo,Ryan Apuy|
|Sound Department||Christopher Alba,Bob Baron,Rick Canelli,Julia Evershade,Peter Gleaves,Alder Hampel,Shawn Kennelly,Gregg Landaker,Greg LaPlante,Eric Lindemann,Laura Macias,David McDonald,Peggy Names,Vince Nicastro,Thomas J. O’Connell,Tim O’Heir,Brion Paccassi,Peter Reale,Earl Sampson,Reuben Simon,Noah Scot Snyder,Daniel W. Victor Jr.,Bryan O. Watkins,Nathan Whitehead,David Wyman|
|Special Effects by||Chris Bailey,John C. Hartigan|
|Visual Effects by||Mark Freund,Doug Luberts,Bob Wiatr|
|Stunts||Ted Barba,Gregg Brazzel,Alex Brown,Lori Crowder,Shawn Crowder,Alan Diambekov,Randall Huber,Rawn Hutchinson,Ernie Johnson,Oliver Keller,Kim Robert Koscki,Will Leong,James Logan,Dailyn Matthews,Chris Nielsen,Gaylynn Schmidt,Ann Scott,Michelle Sebek,C.C. Taylor,Mark Varner,Jose Vasquez,Kevin Ward,Boni Yanagisawa,Lester G. Reynolds|
|Camera and Electrical Department||Samantha Bahramian,Erik L. Brown,Gary S. Christie,Kelly Clear,Chris Culliton,Willie E. Dawkins,Michael Franco,Ryan French,Steven W. Gage,Bryan Gilbert,David Golia,Joseph Graham,Sheila Greene,Sean Haeseler,Kieran Healy,Christian Hibbard,Jay M. Huntoon,Barry Baz Idoine,Troye Jenkins,Michael Kenner,Alexandra Kravetz,Jeff Kunkel,Paul Lambiase,Damon Liebowitz,Scott Medcalf,Scott Moody,John Morris,Michael Nie,Patrick B. O’Brien,Derek Paulin,Brian T. Pitts,Thoma Reavis,Robbie Redner,P. Scott Sakamoto,Tom Schurke,Hank Sheppherd,Jason Sidore,Cricket Sloat,Larissa Supplitt,Mariana Sánchez de Antuñano,Miguel Sánchez,Scott Wells,Matthew W. Williams,Glen Wilson,Thomas Wily,R. Gern Trowbridge|
|Animation Department||Gary Hebert|
|Casting Department||Janine Campbell,Lauren Grey,Barbara Harris,Julie Hutchinson,Tina Kerr,Terry L. Lamfers,Terence Rosemore,Rachel Tenner|
|Costume and Wardrobe Department||Bethany Bernhard,Nanrose Buchman,Pamela Lee Incardona,Sandy Kenyon,Mandi Line,Lorraine Alexis Mahru Toomey,Sybil Mosely,Felipe Sanchez|
|Editorial Department||Dannielle Carr,Michael Ford,Rachel Goodlett Katz,Mo Henry,Marisa Morabito,Tim Stipan,Greg Thompson,Lee Wimer|
|Location Management||Leann Emmert,Colleen Gibbons,Larry Ring,Albert Salsich,Jim Small|
|Music Department||Tim Boot,Julian Bratolyubov,Debbi Datz-Pyle,George Doering,Amanda Goodpaster,M.B. Gordy,Opie Gruves,Greg Hayes,The Hollywood Studio Symphony,The Hollywood Symphony Orchestra,Charles Martin Inouye,Damon Intrabartolo,Wael Kakish,Tim Lauber,Jason Lloyd,Kathy Nelson,Tim O’Heir,Stacey Robinson,Tim Rodier,Lior Rosner,Bart Samolis,Dennis S. Sands,Patrick Spain,Tom Steel,Bill Talbott,Tim Boot|
|Script and Continuity Department||Mary Anne Seward|
|Transportation Department||Frank Annunziata,Paulie DiCocco,Joey Freitas,Shawn Marchetti,Chuck Martinez,Ron Poniewaz Jr.,Claudia Rojas,Steve D. Weinmuller,Gary Thomas Williams,Russ Tolliver|
|Additional Crew||Frank Annunziata,Dan Balgoyen,Megan Brown,Ericka Bryce,Justin Carville,Brian Clark,Eric Clark,Merrilee Dale,Paulette Dauber,Rachel Devenport,Tom Dooley,Jon E. Edwards,Karen C. Eide,Rachel Flackett,Yvonne M. Gabrielli,Sherri Goldman,Vanessa Grayson,Pamela B. Green,Kimberly A. Harrison,Rebecca Hedrick,Jay Herrion,David Hickey,Marc Hofstatter,Beau Holden,Roseanne Holmes,Josh Holden Hume,Tamara A. Kalca,Kristofer Kolpek,Jeffrey E. Kramer,Kelly Lane,Jennifer Li Jackson,Esther Lopez,Micah May,Karly Meola,Scott D. Moore,Michael ‘Mox’ Pappas,Derek Paulin,Monica Perez Gelbman,Leah Piehl,Catherine Quigley,Monique Ramirez,Jennifer Salada,Matthew Segal,Katie Shapiro,Jeremiah Stafford,Aaron Ali Tichenor,Jarik Van Sluijs,Matt Walters,Robert West,Gary Williams,Ellen Wolff,Sara Woodhatch|
|Companies||Universal Pictures, Depth of Field|
|Keywords||reference to oprah winfrey,vomiting,the white house,man wears eyeglasses,arabic speaker|