Even-Handed Propaganda: Who is ‘An American Carol’ Making Fun Of?

Bill O'Reilly in An American Carol

We drink a lot here in D.C. We Irish our coffee in the morning, we have a couple Yuengling’s at lunch and then hit happy hour. The only thing we do here more than drink, something we can accomplish while drinking, is talk politics. We dissect everything, every small detail, every nuance, every policy. When a friend of mine visited, he spoke up during the conversation to ask if we ever talked about anything else – like if we talked about sex. The group laughed and returned to discussing campaign strategies.

The point that I’m beating to death is that we live, breathe and wallow in politics. Which is why I was so dumbfounded by the trailer for An American Carol.

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When I first heard about it, I assumed like everyone else that David Zucker’s new project was a straightforward send-up of pompous gasbag, Oscar speech ruiner, and all-around great American Michael Moore. It’s a parody that would be welcome. So far, the only responses to Moore have been critical ones that play more like the infantile bickering of sore losers mimicking the style of the very subject they intend to vilify. Even worse, some have been personal attacks on Moore instead of responding to the ideas he puts forth in his movies. Still, it would be fairly heinous to sit through two hours of funny personal attacks on anyone.

But after checking out the trailer, and Trace Adkins belting out about the greatest country in history against a size Extra-Enormous flag backdrop, I’m not sure things are that simple. While the jokes seem par for the course for Zucker, it appears like the outlandishness is going to spill over onto the other side of the aisle.

I thought for sure the Left was going to take a beating when I saw the cameo of Bill O’Reilly slapping the Moore-esque documentarian, but then I saw that Rosie O’Donnell is on board, too, and the head-scratching began. (Apparently, I’m illiterate. Rosie O’Donnell isn’t on board. Rosie O’Connell, who is a character played by Vicki Browne, is. Well played, Zucker. Though, head-scratching, did still take place.)

I was glad to see I wasn’t alone in my confusion – Eugene Novikov of Cinematical wrote about his confusion, asking the question of whether the film looked meaningfully political or another snuff film for Michelle Malkin to pleasure herself to. Sorry, that came out wrong. I meant to say, “another snuff film to which Michelle Malkin can pleasure herself.”

The film still has a chance to be that. It could be that the “true meaning of patriotism” learned by the hapless hero is to love the country by waving a giant flag that shoots off sparkles and bears a live eagle perched on the top while never questioning governmental leadership. It’s clear that we’re in for a pedantic good time, but I have a gut feeling that the message may come softer-handed than that. And, no, the term “softer-handed” has nothing to do with my prior statement about Michelle Malkin.

David Zucker makes no bones about being Conservative, but it looks like he might be injecting more than his personal preferences into the humor of An American Carol. I’m not usually swayed much by trailers, but after dismissing the film as more propaganda from famously-right-wing Hollywood, it made me question my assumptions. That fact alone, the fact that we have to question who the film is making fun of, makes the film something worthwhile to check when C-SPAN takes a commercial break or we run out of Maker’s Mark.

A veteran of writing about movies for nearly a decade, Scott Beggs has been the Managing Editor of Film School Rejects since 2009. Despite speculation, he is not actually Walter Mathau's grandson. See? He can't even spell his name right.

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