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Film / Idiocracy

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"As Joe and Rita lay dormant, the years passed and mankind became stupider at a frightening rate. Some had high hopes that genetic engineering would correct this trend in evolution, but sadly the greatest minds and resources were focused on conquering hair loss and prolonging erections."

Idiocracy is a 2006 science fiction comedy by Mike Judge, starring Luke Wilson as Joe Bauers, a totally average soldier who is volunteered for a suspended animation experiment, along with a hooker named Rita (played by Maya Rudolph), who refers to herself as a painter and refers to her pimp, Upgrayedd, as her "boyfriend/manager". The experiment is supposed to run for only a year, but they wind up forgotten for five hundred years. When they finally emerge, they discover that due to 500 years of the dumb outbreeding the intelligent and world culture gradually dumbing down to the Lowest Common Denominator, society has become ridiculously crude and dim-witted. Joe and Rita are now by far the smartest people around, and the world's looking at them to solve some serious problems.

The film wasn't granted a wide theatrical release, and as such gave poor box-office returns. Since its DVD release, however, the film has become a Cult Classic.

Idiocracy provides examples of the following EXTRA BIG-ASS TROPES:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Joe says "I'm not sure if..." to a machine, which proceeds to assume his name is literally "Not Sure". It asks for confirmation, but promptly misreads Joe's tone when he says "my name is not Not Sure!", takes it literally again and tattoos this name on his arm. Everyone calls him "Not Sure" for the rest of the movie.
    Secret Service Agent: That's Secretary Not Sure to you, ma'am!
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Subverted in that the machines are not exactly AI, but were meant to assist humanity to the point that they completely depend on them for things like food and energy. Examples include:
    • An automated Carl's Jr. kiosk that takes a woman's money, does not dispense the product, then gasses her with a soporific when she bangs on the screen demanding the food.
      Kiosk: Enjoy your Extra Big-Ass Fries!
      Woman: You didn't gimme no fries, I got an empty box.
      Kiosk: Would you like another Extra Big-Ass Fries?
      Woman: I said I didn't get any.
      Kiosk: Thank you. Your account has been charged. Your balance is zero.
      Woman: What? Oh, no. No!
      Kiosk: Please come back when you can afford to make a purchase.
      (Woman bangs kiosk on the screen)
      Kiosk: I'm sorry you're having trouble.
      Woman: Come on! My kids are starvin'.
      (Woman hits machine again)
      Kiosk': I'm sorry you're having trouble.
      (Kiosk sprays woman in face with some kind of mist)
      Kiosk: This should help you calm down. Please come back when you can afford to make a purchase. Your kids are starving. Carl's Jr. believes no child should go hungry. You are an unfit mother. Your children will be placed in the custody of Carl's Jr. Carl's Jr. "Fuck you. I'm eating."
    • The diagnosis machine at "St. God's Memorial Hospital"
      Chipper machine voice: You have Hepatitis! Aw, is someone not feeling well? Your illness is very important to us!
  • Anti-Intellectualism: This idea permeates the culture of the 26th century. Anyone who shows any kind of intelligence gets subjected to ridicule from the masses.
  • Arc Words: "Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way." Joe prefers to get out of the way and his Character Development involves him learning that sometimes being neutral isn't an option.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • "The economy was in a state of deep neglect. A great dust bowl had ravaged food supplies. And the number-one movie in the country was called Ass."
    • In court, Frito objects that Joe's pod broke his window, that he won't be able to pay his lawyer fees, and most of all, that he interrupted him while he was watching Ow! My Balls! That is NOT okay!
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho, porn superstar and five-time Ultimate Smackdown wrestling champion. He is clearly much more intelligent and competent than the average citizen, to the extent he probably only qualifies as an idiot by our own world's standards - which is quite a feat in the film's setting, where idiocy has become insanely dysfunctional. In fact, it was hinted that Camacho was the smartest guy the country ever had until Joe's arrival. Aside from his accomplishments in wrestling and porn, this is presumably the reason why he was chosen as president.
  • Auto-Doc: There are semiautomatic medical stations; the probes have to be inserted by person. Brain Bleach happens when that person gets confused on which probes should be used on which hole, leading to enormous risks of misdiagnosing each new patient, what with all the bacteria and germs from different patients mixing on the same probes. Like sharing needles, only grosser. Especially disgusting since the patient before Joe was diagnosed with Hepatitis and the probes didn't seem to get disinfected between uses...
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Beef Supreme's Ass-Dozer is a Monday Night Rehabilitation crowd pleaser, being several stories tall and capable of breaking concrete, but it's too big to fit into the building and gets buried by rubble before it can actually participate.
  • Bad Future: And how. Everyone is a complete idiot and there are mountains of trash everywhere.
  • Babies Ever After: The film ends with Rita and Joe, and Frito and his eight wives, all producing children, while the narrator specifically mentions Frito's are some of the dumbest on the planet.
  • Berserk Button: Do NOT interrupt Frito while he's watching Ow! My Balls! That is NOT OK!
  • Big Bad: The unnamed CEO of Brawndo, whose corporate corruption is why there's a dust bowl and the economy is on life support.
  • Big Good: President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Camacho, he might be a moron but he's genuinely invested in solving the many crises afflicting his country, actively seeks good advisors and does his best to keep the country together.
  • Big "OMG!": Joe's reaction when he finally realizes how long he has been hibernated.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Frito Pendejo. In Spanish, Frito means fried, and 'Pendejo' is roughly the equivalent to 'dumbass' in English.
    • The main character's name is Joe Bauers, who is made the Secretary of the Interior, charged with trying to solve the issue of crops not growing in the future. "Bauer" is the German word for "farmer".
  • Bittersweet Ending: It turns out the time machine Frito told Joe about is merely a theme park ride, meaning Joe and Rita are stuck in the future. However, Joe climbs the ranks in politics, eventually becoming the President of the United States, and marrying Rita, with whom he has the world's three smartest children. In his election speech, Joe makes a passionate plea for people to stop viewing being stupid as the norm and as cool, and it appears that society is on its way to betterment, even though stupid people are still having too many children.
  • Bizarre Beverage Use: The Stupid Future People of Year 2505 America water their crops with Brawndo sports drink, never mind that's killing their crops, literally salting the earth, and driving the country into a dust bowl.
    Advertisement: It's got electrolytes! It's what plants crave!
  • Black Comedy Rape: The Cabinet is not-at-all subtle about how they will treat Rita if Joe stops vouching for her. It makes one wonder how the Attorney General has managed to function all this time.
  • Blood Sport: "Rehabilitation", in which the one being rehabilitated will actually be killed by two monster trucks.
  • Boxed Crook: Convicts are given an IQ test and put to work, which is how Joe, with his whopping 100 IQ points, becomes Secretary of the Interior.
  • Brick Joke: After Joe spends the whole movie calming Rita down and finally convinces her that she is safe from Upgrayedd, The Stinger shows Upgrayedd appearing from a third cryostasis pod.
  • Butt-Monkey: Joe ends up taking a lot of abuse for everyone's amusement; also, to a (slightly) lesser degree, the guy on Ow! My Balls!
  • The Cameo: Sara Rue appears as the Attorney General of the United States.
  • Cardboard Prison: The prison Joe is sent to has tons of security, but Joe easily tricks the guards into letting him leave. Averted when he gets sent back to prison, and they chain him to a big rock so he can't possibly escape.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "I like money" — Frito Pendejo.
    • The police always start with "okay sir" when explaining anything, and call any suspect, detainee or escapee "particular individual", even in sentences such as "being a particular individual in jail" or the jail being named "house of particular individuals".
  • Chekhov's Gag: Officer Collins becoming a little too friendly with Upgrayedd leads to the cancellation of the hibernation project, and Joe and Rita's incarceration for half a millennium, when he's arrested for running his own prostitution ring.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Upgrayedd.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: The Secretary of Energy looks to be about twelve or thirteen, drinks heavily, and got his job by winning an unspecified contest; none of this makes him seem particularly less competent than any other Cabinet member... though that's not saying much.
  • Cleavage Window: The Attorney General (played by an uncredited Sara Rue), who is referred to as "Funbags," to boot. Later, Rita too.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: An apparent byproduct of the society's intellectual devolution is that "vulgarity filters" have largely been done away with. In other words, people curse and use vulgar words all the time, including advertisers, doctors and politicians.
  • Cold Sleep, Cold Future: This film is Mike Judge's homage (and update) of Woody Allen's similar but far less pessimistic Sleeper. The hero actually spends most of the movie having to make everyone in the future realize they're living in a Crapsack World.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Frito Pendejo could well be the Trope Codifier for this. At no point does he truly understand what Joe is saying to him.
    Frito: "How many billions is 8 minus 6?"
    Joe: "Uh, it's 50. 50 billion dollars, Frito!"
    Frito: "I like money."
  • Compensating for Something: The monster trucks in Monday Night Rehabilitation—the Dildozer and the Ass-Blaster. And the last one which is several times larger than the other two combined: the Ass-Dozer.
  • Crapsack World: Idiocracy depicts the future America as a horrifically dirty and overcrowded wasteland where humanity is crude, impossibly dumb, and hostile. In addition, America is suffering from dustbowls and starvation (due to crops being irrigated with a sports drink brand, killing them off and salting the earth), and the economy is in a terrible state, with Ridiculous Future Inflation being displayed in full effect.
  • Creator Cameo: Mike Judge voices two announcers, the one for the Masturbating Channel and the stadium one for Rehabilitation.
  • Cyberpunk for Flavor: Or rather, Cyberpunk Played for Laughs, its aesthetics applied to a trailer park instead of a City Noir. Advanced technology in the hands of Stupid Future People is mostly directed towards enabling human laziness and creating an Advert-Overloaded Future, and most of it is falling apart because they've forgotten how to maintain it.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: Everyone except Joe and Rita. Especially the police—the only long words they don't mangle is "particular individual," and only then because they use that phrase every time they refer to any person.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: Everything in the future has a very bright and overproduced 'food court aesthetic.'
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Beef Supreme comes out of retirement in the biggest, baddest wrecking vehicle he can find... only to make it too big to fit in the building, and bury it under tons of rubble when he tries to ram his way through the arch anyway.
    • Frito knew the Time Masheen was just a ride the whole movie, but chose not to tell Joe, because he wanted the billions promised to him in the deal they made. Except that the only way Frito was even getting the money was through Joe's plan to open a bank account in the past that would accumulate lots of interest in 500 years, making the whole thing moot since Joe can't actually travel back in time. Joe tries explaining Frito's flawed logic back to him, but gives up because the idiot is unable to understand even such a simple thing.
  • The Ditz: A whole society comprised of these.
  • Distracted by the Sexy:
    • Frito and the cameraman forget to film the plants because a nearby Starbucks is having a handjob sale.
    • Later invoked by Rita to get someone out of the control booth, and failing after using several different methods, seizes upon this method:
      Rita: "There's a bunch of whores in the hallway!"
  • Divided States of America: The American flag has only twenty-five stars on it, so it's possible half the states have seceded. On the other hand, there are also only eleven stripes, so it's possible everyone has simply forgotten what the stars and stripes are supposed to represent, or that nobody can count that high anymore.
  • The Dreaded: Upgrayedd is clearly this to Rita, who spends most of the movie fearing that he's coming to find her, the fact that she's 500 years in the future be damned. And judging from The Stinger, her fears are not unfounded.
  • Duct Tape for Everything: Rather than actually repair dilapidated buildings, people simply use tons and tons of duct tape to hold them together.
  • Embarrassing Slide: Officer Collins has dozens of these. While presenting his project on hibernation to several army officials, he reveals he took a lot of pictures with him hanging out with Upgrayedd, Rita's pimp. He has to mash on the slide button several times to get back to the original presentation. It becomes a Chekhov's Gag.
  • The End... Or Is It?: After the credits, a scene is shown of a third cryogenic pod opening and releasing Upgrayedd, who is intent on tracking down Rita.
  • Entendre Failure: Whenever Rita uses a Sexual Euphemism, Joe never understands what she intends.
  • Epic Fail: In the opening scene, Carol tells us that her husband Trevor passed away from a heart attack while masturbating to produce sperm for artificial insemination.
  • The Everyman: Invoked; Joe and Rita are specifically chosen for the experiment because they're completely average in every regard... but are nonetheless considered geniuses by the standards of the future.
  • Exactly Exty Years Ago: Joe and Rita are frozen in 2005 and thawed in 2505.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: A hilarious Show Within a Show example. The narrator mentions that the year's biggest blockbuster movie was Ass. "...and that's all it was, for ninety minutes." Yeah, what he said. "It won eight Oscars that year, including one for 'Best Screenplay'."
    • The most popular show on TV is Ow! My Balls!
  • Expecting Someone Taller: The first thing the President says to the 'smartest man in the world' is "I thought your head would be bigger."
  • Fallen States of America: Played for laughs. Then again, the rest of the world is implied to be just as bad.
  • Fanservice with a Smile: Everywhere in the future, even the news anchors are barely dressed and highly attractive.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Joe and Rita are from 2005 and see how drastically the future has changed 500 years from then.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • The very small Surgeon General's warning seen on the Tarrylton's Cigarettes billboard reads: "Warning: The Surgeon General has one lung and a voicebox but he could still kick your sorry ass", Comically Missing the Point on what constitutes a warning in that context.
    • When Joe is being apprehended by the police in Costco, the background screens display why he is wanted: "For being a dick," "For excaping from jail" and "For fucking up lots of shit."
  • Funny Background Event: Specifically the pictures of President Camacho in the White House. But throughout the movie you can see people doing stupid things in the background.
  • Future Imperfect: The Time Masheen ride is clueless about WW2 as it shows the Nazis had dinosaurs and were led by Charlie Chaplin.
  • Gigantic Gulp:
    • All drink cups in the future are super-sized mugs with bendy straws.
    • Not to mention the beer that comes through a tube from somewhere on the wall. It seems that beer has gone the way of cable TV...
  • Giving Up on Logic: After Joe discovers that crops are being irrigated with Brawndo, a sports drink, Joe tries to explain that Brawndo is killing the crops and tries to convince them that they should switch to plain water instead. However, the cabinet insists on using Brawndo because "it's what plants crave because it's got electrolytes" (The Narrator explains that the "electrolytes" in Brawndo include salt as a main ingredient, and is the reason for the ongoing dust bowl and crop failure). When he fails to reason with the cabinet, The Narrator then states that Joe decided to start lying and tell them he can talk to plants, and that the plants told him they needed water instead of Brawndo.
  • Groin Attack: The Show Within a Show Ow! My Balls! is one Groin Attack after another. The unfortunate star of the show suffers such 'tributes' from his fans at public appearances as well.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Joe gets sent to prison, but immediately talks his way out by convincing them he should be in the line to be released. Justified because, well, they're all idiots. (They manage to do a little more thinking the second time he's incarcerated, and chain him to a boulder.)
  • Hair-Trigger Avalanche: A truck adds to a massive pile of garbage. It gets compressed, but stays intact; then a single can falls out of the truck, triggering an avalanche dozens of meters high.
  • Hellhole Prison: The House of Particular Individuals. Though we don't get to see much of it, it appears to be a disgusting and overcrowded facility where the average inmates are starving, fed from buckets like zoo animals, and are abused by the fatter inmates, who sit on them.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Joe, until Rita and Frito prove that his idea of putting water on crops does in fact work.
  • Historical Character Confusion: At some point, Adolf Hitler was confused with Charlie Chaplin.
  • Hired for Their Looks: A bit of Truth in Television there. Ever see what the female anchors on Fox News and CNN look like? Although in Idiocracy, the male anchor is naked at least to the waist. This is also Truth in Television with Canada's Naked News. If you're not at work, do a search for it. Also, the news anchors demonstrate a considerably better command of the English language than most of the population, even if it still contains numerous light profanities. Though not the field reporter, interestingly, who is fully clothed and uses terms such as "more better". However, they also add sound effects such as heavy reverb to the male anchor's voice to make his words have more impact. Also worth mentioning is when the female anchor turns to Formica (the street reporter), the anchor turns all the way around as if the inset screen will appear behind her or she is physically looking for Formica.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Rita, though a prostitute, is shown to be a rather lovely person, and ends up helping to save the world.
  • Human Popsicle: Joe and Rita (and Upgrayedd) are put into stasis for 500 years (though they were only intended to be in stasis for one year).
  • Humans Are Morons: The entire world population. Their vocabulary has devolved into profanities and crude humor, and have no reasonable system of government.
  • Humiliation Conga: Monday Night Rehabilitation is both this and a form of public execution, where convicts are forced to participate in humiliating and unfairly matched gladiator sports.
  • I Choose to Stay: Rita. Subverted (and mandated) when it turns out the 'Time Masheen' they were looking for is just a cheesy theme-park ride.
  • Implacable Man: The resoliution of a major Running Gag is that Rita's fears that her pimp Upgrayedd would hunt her down even when she's been a Human Popsicle for 500 years turn out be well-founded when it's revealed in The Stinger that Upgrayedd also put himself in cryogenic suspension for this exact reason and just thawed out.
  • Improbably Low I.Q.: Averted at the start, where the "smart" people are shown with not-improbable IQs in the 130s and the "stupid" people are shown in the 80s. Played straight later on, when the average IQ is stated to be 5 - not only is that impossible, because the average IQ is always 100, but even if it means a 5 on a modern scale, these people shouldn't even be able to walk and talk unassisted.
  • In the Future, We Still Have Roombas: A floor cleaning robot is shown repeatedly banging into a wall announcing "Your floor is now clean!" over and over. Given the putrid condition of the floor everywhere but where the robot is, it had been at this for a long time.
  • Institutional Apparel: Joe spends a good chunk of the movie in an orange prison jumpsuit.
  • I Will Show You X!:
    Joe: Your Honor, I call for a mistrial.
    Joe's Lawyer: I'm gonna mistrial my foot up your ass, (if) you don't shut up.
  • Juggling Loaded Guns: A bunch of cops are firing on the car Joe had just exited. One of them has a rocket launcher—which he proceeds to fire backwards. A few seconds later, a 747 enters the shot going down in flames. Later in the film, the U.S. President quiets down a rowdy crowd in the House of Representin' by firing a light support weapon into the air. Also, our introduction to the Secretary of Education has him absentmindedly resting a shotgun against his face and occasionally staring down the barrel of it.
  • Kangaroo Court: Joe's lawyer objects to things his own client did that are unrelated to the case and assumes Joe is guilty because the other lawyer said so. The jury and judge consider it damning evidence of Joe's guilt.
  • Kavorka Man: Clevon and his son in the prologue: two fat and ugly rednecks who nonetheless manage to father plenty of illegitimate children, contributing to humanity's devolution.
  • Large Ham: President Camacho begins his speeches by showboating like a pro athlete and sounds like a televangelist when he starts half-singing them.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: The smart couple who keep putting off getting pregnant (eventually thwarted by Husband Existence Failure) vs. the idiot who doesn't care and winds up with about three dozen offspring by five to eight different women (and even more after a Groin Attack) in the prologue. This continues after a fashion with Joe and Rita: they have three children of average intelligence—the three smartest kids on Earth—while Frito has thirty of the dumbest kids on Earth.
  • Low Culture, High Tech: People in the future use advanced technology that hasn't progressed in ages because everyone is now an infantile lackwit.
  • MacGuffin: The Time Masheen provides Joe's main motivation, though it isn't seen until the very end of the film. It's... not what he thinks.
  • Manchild: Everyone Joe encounters in the future. They talk like middle schoolers, are obsessed with sex and profanity, and most of the buildings and machines have a plasticky Fisher-Price look.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The average protagonist is named Joe.
    • Also, Joe's new name that he's given in 2505, "Not Sure". He is the smartest man in the world by default because everyone else is so stupid, and humanity rests their hopes on him, even though he himself is 'not sure' of what exactly to do (although it was a Line-of-Sight Name that was given to him).
  • Monumental Damage Resistance: Despite being implied that the rest of the world in 2505 is just as dumbed down and environmentally wrecked as United States, the Eiffel Tower (intact and in relatively perfect condition) is briefly shown in Ow! My Balls!, though that could have been stock footage, as the next shot showed him at the Pyramids at Giza.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The commercials for Brawndo, being commercials, portray drinking the soda as the most badass thing that anyone can do.
  • Narrator: If you've ever seen a Coors Light beer commercial or NFL Films vignette in your life, the narrator might sound a little familiar
  • My Nayme Is: Upgrayedd. Spelled with an extra D for a "double dose of his pimping."
  • Newspaper Dating: Joe finds out what year he's in this way, though he doesn't believe it at first, though this in itself is somewhat of a dated piece, newspapers going obsolete even now in the 21st century.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: The film's premise - a guy with completely average intelligence in a society of complete morons.
  • The Not-So-Harmless Punishment: Joe is sentenced to one night of rehabilitation when his decision to irrigate crops with water caused population riots after the price of the Brawndo Corporation's stock plummeted. It turns out that 'rehabilitation' is a type of public execution modeled as a Squash Match with Homicide Machines.
  • Odd Friendship: Collins the military scientist and Upgrayedd the pimp.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: It's mentioned Brawndo purchased the FDA and the FCC, and used their position to replace water with their product. If you look closely at the American flag, each of the stars is actually the logo of Carl's Jr. Also, the red stripes are actually red text reading, "The following companies are proud sponsors of the United States of Uhmerica: Carl's Jr., Costco, Cavalcade, Flaturin, Tarrlytons, Ronaise, Buttfuckers, Bemco, Nastea, Bonerax, Brawndo, Acne Insurance." Possibly, these companies own parts of the U.S. government in the same way that Brawndo owns the FDA and FCC.
  • One-Word Title: Idiocracy.
  • Only Sane Man: Joe, and by extension Rita and Upgrayedd.
  • Opening Monologue: The narrator gives one about the change in human evolution.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho is a strange mix of Buffoon and Personable types. A five-time Ultimate Smackdown Wrestling champion and porn superstar, Camacho is still an idiot by modern standards, but clearly more intelligent and well-spoken than the rest of the idiots. He is also likable and charismatic, in a Boisterous Bruiser-type of way, willing to listen to his advisors and not afraid to own up to his mistakes.
  • Overly Long Name: President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho.
  • Ow, My Body Part!: Ow! My Balls!
  • Pair the Smart Ones: At the beginning of the movie, The Narrator states that due to a lack of predators and other natural hazards, humanity's reproductive rights are no longer awarded to the strongest or smartest and thus contributed to humanity's devolution.
    • First there's the case of Trevor and Clara, a college educated yuppie couple that spent decades debating when was the right time to have child, only for Trevor to die before impregnating his wife. Then there's Clevon, a dimwitted redneck who fathered a bunch of kids with his wife, and with a bunch of other women at the trailer park where they live. Later, his son wins a football game and tells a bunch of cheerleaders "I'm gonna fuck all y'all!" Then, when Clevon suffers a groin injury, his surgeon says that with the modern technology they can repair the damage, allowing him to make even more kids.
    • Joe and Rita were chosen for the cryogenics experiment because of how average they are, but after waking up 500 years later, their average intelligence makes them the smartest people in the 26th century, and at the end they end up together and have the three smartest children in the world.
  • Parody of Evolution: The poster shows one - as you probably expect, it's the "evolves down" variant.
  • Parody Product Placement: The film has product placement everywhere, and it is parodied to show just how shallow and dumb the future is:
    • In Carl's Jr., the most common or popular portion size is 'Extra Big-Ass', such as their fries, and their motto has devolved into "Fuck you, I'm eating!".
    • Fuddruckers is shown devolving into "Buttfuckers", but is actually one of the few businesses to keep their function as a burger place.
    • Costco has grown to the size of a small city, with its own subway system and a law school. The guy welcoming people repeatedly says "Welcome to Costco. I love you." in an almost mindless manner.
    • Crocs shoes are made for prisoners.
    • Fox News Channel is still a news network, but has devolved into pure entertainment, with its newscasters dressed like porn stars.
    • Starbucks, H&R Block, and several other places have become brothels.
    • It seems that in the future, parents will name their kids after various companies, mostly food products: Joe's lawyer is Frito (Pendejo), the star of Ow! My Balls! is named Hormel (Chavez), a "rehabilitation" official is named Tylenol (Jones), the president's middle name is Mountain Dew, Dr. Lexus, and there's even a reporter named Velveeta and one named Formica (Davis). Essentially, every named character from the future has some kind of product placement in their name.
    • One Cabinet member constantly drops ad slogans (most notably "Brought to you by Carl's Jr.") into his normal conversation, because they pay him each time he says it.
    • All clothes consist entirely of logos (usually foods).
    • When Rita picks up a pay phone, an electronic message says "Welcome to AOL-Time Warner-Taco Bell-U.S. Government Long Distance".
    • Then there are the misspellings, that seem to accumulate over time due to mankind getting stupider. To list them, they are Buttfuckers, Nas-Tea, Uhmerican Exxxpress and St<A>r8ucks, along with some others.
  • The Place: The title refers to the future full of idiots.
  • Portmantitle: From "Idiot" meaning, well, idiot, and "-cracy" meaning rule. Which makes it also a neologism.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Collins, the scientist who organizes the whole project, takes to Upgrayedd's slang a bit too readily, which is what gets him outed for associating with the guy.
  • Reactive Continuous Scream: When Dr. Lexus realizes that Joe is an "unscannable", while Joe is freaking out about realizing how long he's been frozen.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The film was made in the immediate wake of Owen Wilson's suicide attempt from the stress of being a professional actor. His brother Andrew (Beef Supreme), who had helped talk him out of it, was angry at the Screen Actor's Guild for being directly responsible for his brother's depression, not to mention helping as little as possible in the aftermath. He only appeared in the movie because his other brother Luke twisted his arm about it, and refused to have any speaking lines, as doing so would have required him to get an SAG license.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Relative to the typical citizen of 2505, President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho is intelligent, eloquent, and unselfish, starting with him realizing that he has a crisis on his hands and no idea of how to fix it, so he gets the smartest person he knows of and asks for help instead of ignoring the problem. He sentences Joe to "rehabilitation" because he needs to quell the riots, but quickly pulls Joe out once it's revealed that the plan to restore the crops is succeeding. He immediately puts Joe into a political position when he is declared the most intelligent person in America and when Joe is elected president, Camacho happily steps down knowing that America is in safe hands.
  • Ridiculous Future Inflation: This occurs, not as a side effect of poor economic management, but as an intentional choice so that everybody can be amazed at how they have millions of dollars. Plus the inflation is actually kind of reasonable. If the ten million dollar bills we see are the equivalent of single dollar bills at the time the movie came out, it comes down to about 3% inflation per year. Not bad for the world depicted in the movie. In the real world, somebody would probably at some point have introduced a new basic unit of currency worth x times the old one, but people as lazy and stupid as the ones in this story evidently never think to do that.
  • Ridiculously Average Guy: Joe is chosen for the Human Hibernation Project specifically because he is exactly this. Heavily lampshaded, as Collins describes this as "remarkable," and proceeds to show a series of graphs with Joe exactly at the midpoint in every one.
  • Rigged Spectacle Fight: Monday Night Rehabilitation may seem innocuous, but in reality it is a Public Execution where the "rehabilitated" are forced to compete unarmed against a heavily armed, and more mobile, executioner while being watched live on TV and in the middle of a crowded stadium.
  • Rule of Funny: It is just not scientifically accurate (and if it were, it would be advocating eugenics). It does not have to be. It's just a comedy, and it's supposed to be funny.
  • Running Gag:
    • "It's what plants crave!"
    • Joe being completely oblivious to Rita's true profession and her real relationship with Upgrayedd.
    • Joe being known as "Not Sure" for the rest of the movie after a mishap with the identity tattoo machine.
  • Salt the Earth: Not the result of malice, but stupidity. A Gatorade Captain Ersatz got a law passed at some point to make the farmers spray their crops with their sports drink, because it has "electrolytes," which is "what plants crave." For those not quite scientifically savvy enough to see the mistake, the electrolytes in sports drinks are salts dissolved in water. No-one in the movie, including Joe, knows what electrolytes are.
  • Scannable Man: Joe is involuntarily tattooed with a bar code on his wrist.
  • Scenery Gorn: Played for laughs here; the future people haven't exactly been doing a very good job at maintenance.
  • Sentry Gun: The prison has automated sentry guns mounted outside the building to stop escapees. Fortunately, they're so badly maintained that they just swivel in one direction and shoot each other.
  • Sex Sells: In the future, everything, even the newspaper has gratuitous images of scantily-clad babes and many food franchises have outright abandoned whatever product they used to sell in exchange for becoming brothels or strip clubs, with the only remnant of what they once were being food-related sexual innuendo.
  • Sexual Euphemism: A running gag is that Joe never catches on to Rita's insinuation when she uses "this and that".
  • Shaped Like Itself: This brilliant exchange:
    Joe: Frito, do you know where the time machine is?
    Frito Pendejo: Yeah, it's... by the museum, you know... wait... it's... wait... it's down by the... you take a left... it's... wait... it's down by the, uh.... you know where the time machine is?
  • Share the Male Pain: A rare aversion, as the most popular TV show in the future involves a man being slammed in the crotch over and over.
  • Show Within a Show: The aforementioned Ow! My Balls! and Monday Night Rehabilitation, and the multiple-Academy Award-winning film (including Best Screenplay) by the name of Ass.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Attorney General's outfit looks suspiciously like Cutey Honey's.
    • The billboard advertising Tarrlytons cigarettes is "© 2505 Cornholio Enterprises".
  • Shown Their Work: Surprisingly for a film like this one, the Presidential RV has the number "28000", which is the real-life tail registration number of Air Force One.
  • "Shut Up!" Gunshot: President Camacho fires an M249 SAW machine gun in the air during the middle of an Emergency Presidential Address to shut up his critics.
  • Side Effects Include...: Everyone claims "plants crave" the electrolytes in Brawndo, but they don't know what electrolytes actually are. It's salt, which, as it turns out, is definitely not what plants crave.
  • The Silent Bob: Beef Supreme, one of the "corrections personnel" on Monday Night Rehabilitation. Incidentally, he's played by the brother of the actor that plays Joe.note 
  • Spiritual Antithesis:
    • To Demolition Man. Both films are about a man from the present day is cryogenically frozen and awakened in a dystopian future that he has to set right with his modern knowledge, but while Demolition Man is about a Cowboy Cop brought into a hyper-sanitized and sheltered future of Political Overcorrectness and social engineering run amok, Idiocracy is about a Ridiculously Average Guy brought into a future where Anti-Intellectualism created a world of Stupid Future People and trash culture run amok.
    • Sarah Z has also called it this to Beavis and Butt-Head, Mike Judge's previous comedy satirizing human stupidity and the trashier sides of Americana in which two people journey through a wasteland devoid of culture. While the titular protagonists of B&B were a pair of teenage idiots journeying through a world where various ordinary people react to their antics with varying levels of disgust, in Idiocracy the dynamic is reversed: the protagonists are the smart ones, and it's the world around them filled with people with the intelligence of Beavis and Butt-Head.
  • The Stinger: After the credits there is a scene in which Upgrayedd arrives into the future to look for Rita.
  • Stupid Future People: The whole premise - evolutionary and corporatism variety, the less intelligent have outcompeted and outbred the more intelligent and as a result, we have devolved into a pop-culture obsessed Big, Fat Future where no one has a desire to learn.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Rita's response when Joe takes her professional euphemism at face value.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: There are only two (intelligently) normal people here. Care to find them? Make that three with Upgrayedd.
  • Survival Mantra: "Brought to you by Carl's Jr., brought to you by Carl's Jr..." - the Secretary of State, desperately trying to earn money after the economy tanks because they start using water on crops instead of Brawndo.
  • Take That, Audience!: The DVD menu gives the audience the same point of view as Frito, with the screen replaying Ow, My Balls! surrounded by tacky advertisements and options.
  • Testosterone Poisoning:
    • Brawndo, the Thirst Mutilator! "It's like a MONSTER TRUCK you can POUR into your'' FACE!" "It's got electrolytes! It's what plants crave!"
    • Also, would you like some "EXTRA BIG-ASS FRIES" along with an "EXTRA BIG-ASS TACO"?
  • There Is Only One Bed: Joe plans to sleep on the ground, until Rita offers to share the bed.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: When Joe is awaiting his "rehabilitation", he mutters to himself that he never guessed this was how he was going to die.
  • Toilet Humor: In-universe, about the only acceptable (and comprehensible) form of humour left in 2500s America.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Pretty much everyone. Several scenes imply that the culture has been coasting on everyone's lifestyle being heavily automated.
    • At the same time, several scenes also imply that they were about to starve to death (and maybe be buried in their own garbage) before Joe rescued them.
    • Or maybe because humans are such explosive breeders that the birth rate surpasses the 'death-by-stupidity' rate.
  • Trash of the Titans: The Great Garbage Avalanche of 2505.
  • Used Future: Since people are too stupid to maintain the buildings, they are all dirty and disheveled, and many are nearing collapse.
  • Unusual Euphemism:
    • Nearly every business will somehow become a brothel and use whatever product it was once known for as euphemisms. For example, Starbucks has 'lattes,' which are now handjobs.
    • "Hey! Wanna go 'Family-Style'?"
  • Wallbonking: The Roomba cleaning the hospital floor is stuck in a loop running itself into a wall and repeating "your floor is now clean!" over and over … but it's only cleaned a small path behind it, and the rest of the hospital floor is still far dirtier than any hospital floor should be.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Rita's pimp, Upgrayedd. A post-credits stinger shows that Upgrayedd was put in stasis as well, and awakes to go and find Rita.
  • What Year Is This?: One of the first things Joe does discovering it's 2505 on a magazine cover (thinking it's a misprint at first).
  • You Have to Believe Me!: The newscast describes Joe as saying this, presumably trying to tell the court that he's woken up from a centuries-long cryogenic sleep, but they just mock him.
    Violence Channel correspondent Formica Davis: Well it started off boring and slow, with Not Sure trying to bullshit everyone with a bunch of smart-talk! "Blah blah blah, you gotta belieeeve me!" That part of the trial sucked!

Thees X-TRA BIG A$$ TROPE$!!! r brawt 2 u by Carl's Jr.
Carl's Jr. – "Fuk u, I'm eeting!"


Video Example(s):


Idiocracy Trial

Joe must be guilty. After all, that's what the other lawyer said.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / KangarooCourt

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