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Film / An American Carol

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A politically charged 2008 comedy from David Zucker about the conspicuously-named Michael Malone (Kevin Farley), a bitter documentary filmmaker who is disgusted with the United States of America and decides to start up a campaign to ban the Fourth of July holiday. The night before the big anti-July 4th rally, President John F. Kennedy returns from the dead to tell the filmmaker that he will be visited by three patriotic spirits who will attempt to get him to see the error of his ways.

Draws a great deal from Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, of course.

The film features a number of prominent number of conservative talent and overall comedic actors, including Kelsey Grammer, Robert Davi, Geoffrey Arend, Jon Voight, Leslie Nielsen, James Woods, Kevin Sorbo and Trace Adkins.

It was a box office flop and received largely negative reviews from critics. The reception torpedoed Zucker's career.

Not to be confused with An American Christmas Carol, a serious adaptation of A Christmas Carol released in 1979 and starring Henry Winkler.


  • Action Survivor: Michael. One minute, he's eating a hoagie. The next, he's fighting off zombies with a shotgun.
  • Artistic License – History: The film's depiction of history is heavily tinted through conservative goggles. For instance, Neville Chamberlain is portrayed as a humongous kiss ass who shines Hitler's boots and cedes every country in Europe over to him, even though he used the time bought by the Munich Agreement to begin rearming the British military and ended up being the one to actually declare war on Germany (in stark contrast to the United States, which provided no resistance to Germany's expansionism until Germany declared war on them).
  • Author Avatar: Michael is "sort of" this to David Zucker. After 9/11, Zucker began rethinking his leftist political beliefs and ultimately became a conservative. In the movie, Michael taking time to contemplate 9/11 serves as the turning point that switches his political beliefs too. It's arguable that the character's main purpose isn't to mock Moore (although that is clearly high up on the agenda), but for Zucker to laugh at himself for how he used to be.
  • Berserk Button: Michael, who generally hates guns, fires some buckshot into an approaching wave of zombie lawyers after he thinks he overhears one of them calling him "fat". Technically, he shot the zombie for saying he was "just" a documentary film maker.
  • Black Comedy:
    • Everything from where we first meet the terrorists to where the focus shifts to Michael.
      Mohammed: It is getting harder and harder to find good suicide bombers...and all the really good ones are gone.
    • It arguably peaks with the suicide bomber training video.
    • The alternate future where Michael's ass is his only body part that authorities were able to salvage from the explosion.
  • Butt-Monkey: Michael Malone and Mohammed. Michael is included because he is slapped a number of times, and even stampeded twice.
  • The Cameo:
  • Children Are Innocent:
    • Very much subverted with Tiny Tim, of all people.
    • The girl scouts also take time out to tear Michael a new one.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Aziz is initially made out to be something of a Villain Protagonist. Once the focus shifts to Michael, he drops the protagonist part.
  • Enforced Method Acting: In-Universe. A reading for Michael's feature film ends with Osama bin Nielsen wielding a sword and chasing the actors.
  • Flanderization: Some people would say Malone himself, compared with his inspiration. This could also be applied to JFK and George Washington.
  • Happy Ending: Whether or not you agree with Michael's political shift, the film goes out on a high note. He's reconnected with his family and has become a successful director, finally ridding himself of his Butt-Monkey status.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Michael (hey, based on Scrooge, shouldn't be surprised), at least from the political perspective of the director. Also Ahmed and Mohammed. It should be pointed out that Michael is not "evil"; he's just misguided and blinded by self-importance. The movie makes very clear that, whatever his other faults, he does not approve of honor killings, his feelings of (token) sympathy for Muslims notwithstanding.
    • Ahmed and Mohammed. Before the film's over they decide they much prefer being filmmakers to being terrorists.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Patton receives one; the film gladly ignores the fact that he was pretty antisemitic (making the scene where he bounces along to Hava Nagila rather ironic), as well as his widely reported streak of megalomania that outweighed his personal patriotism quite a bit. Not to mention the incident where he slapped a soldier suffering from PTSD ("shell shock" at the time), which got Patton in trouble.
  • Hot for Student: Parodied in the college professor scene.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Ahmed and Mohammed deactivate a bomb in a men's room stall. While someone is using an adjacent urinal, they hear Ahmed and Mohammed congratulate each other on what a good job the other did.
  • Insult Backfire: Michael, shocked to hear JFK lecturing him on the need to fight evil, tells him "You sound like Ronald Reagan!" To which JFK replies "Thank you."
  • Market-Based Title: Released outside the US (but mostly not in cinemas) as Big Fat Important Movie (the end credits still carry the original title, however).
  • Mood Whiplash: The film briefly contemplates 9/11 and, appropriately, drops all the levity until the next scene.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Aziz takes this trope up to eleven. Seriously, this is very possibly the most extreme use of this trope mankind will ever witness. His disguise consists of a fake beard that is identical to the real beard it is covering it up. Nobody recognizes him. People gasp in surprise when he takes it off and they realize who he really is.
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy: Remember, this is David Zucker we're talking about.
  • Recycled In Space: A Christmas Carol...ON THE FOURTH OF JULY!
  • Rule of Funny: Women in the past slapping Michael when he tries to grab their breasts, despite being completely unaware of his presence.
  • Running Gag: Whenever somebody asks if Michael is a filmmaker, they will inevitably be corrected that he's just a documentary maker and will no longer be impressed.
  • Shout-Out: To name something popular in the mid 2000s that isn't referenced here is easier.
  • Significant Birth Date: It doesn't actually make any difference in the plot but Michael's birthdate is April 20, which is also Hitler's, as well as Columbine.