A Serendipitous Spoof

American Dreamz

Mandy Moore, Hugh Grant, Dennis Quaid, Chris Klein, Willem Dafoe, and Sam Golzari star in a film directed by Paul Weitz.

Reviewed by Molly Freedenber

American Dreamz doesn’t even pretend to be about something other than President George W. Bush and his chief of staff (Dennis Quaid plays the puppet president with Willem Dafoe as the silent mastermind), our involvement in Iraq (Sam Golzari’s character’s mom was killed in Baghdad), and American Idol (the only thing missing is the aging, bulimic, former pop star judge). And it doesn’t have to. The writing and acting are so spot-on that it doesn’t seem to matter whether the film is a spoof, a satire, a parody, or just a bit of really timely serendipity.

The story centers around the jaded host of a TV talent show, the manipulative teen from Ohio who will do anything to win the show, the Middle Eastern would-be terrorist who’s up against her, and the depressed president who guest hosts the show as a publicity stunt. The plot is so contrived that it wouldn’t have worked if it weren’t so damn funny.

But the real highlight here is Mandy Moore, who draws on the same tactics she used in Saved to play Sally Kendoo with just the right balance of camp and sympathy. Though Moore may channel both Britney “with-one-‘t’” Spears and Kelly “first-American-Idol” Clarkson in her role as a TV talent show contestant, she once again proves that she is more talented, substantive, and enduring than either of her pop tart peers.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Biggest Storm Since 1/9 Approaching Santa Barbara

The storm system brings increased threat of flash floods and debris flows.

Jack Johnson Tours Montecito Disaster Area Ahead of Benefit Concert

Jack and Kim Johnson met with Bucket Brigade leaders to see the destruction firsthand.

Iron Chef Caused State Street Pedestrian Death

Famous Chef Larry Forgione charged with misdemeanor for driving into Gilbert Ramirez on February 24.

Lavagnino’s Sudden Victory

5th District supervisor a shoo-in as filing window closes; Gregg Hart also unopposed for 2nd District.

One Half of Old Town Streets to Get Sidewalks

Walkways planned for one side of Goleta neighborhood streets; parking, lighting talks at community meeting March 22.