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Idiot Plot / Live-Action Films

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Intentional examples

    Intentional examples 
  • Lampshaded in Angels and Demons:
    Langdon: Oh, jeez. You guys don't even read your own history, do you?
  • Arguably the whole point of Bill & Ted, with the protagonists being the exact kind of well-meaning idiots who would manage to turn a fairly simple endeavor into a ridiculously over-complicated adventure through spacetime, mostly because they take an insanely long time to really grasp the implications about having access to a time machine.
  • The main characters in Bodies, Bodies, Bodies are a bunch of toxic, narcissistic, paranoid Alpha Bitches, and their worst qualities not only get most of them killed, they are the reason the entire plot was set in motion. There wasn't actually a psycho killer; rather, David's death, the inciting incident, is revealed at the end to have been an accident caused by his own drug-addled stupidity, and all the death and mayhem that followed happened because the rest of the cast, believing that David had been murdered, turned against each other out of suspicion that one of them was the killer.
  • Burn After Reading is one of the few examples of an Idiot Plot done deliberately. And thus, it manages to be hilarious and entertaining rather than annoying, like most straight examples.
  • Actually, this is a pretty standard feature of The Coen Brothers movies. But most of them are acting in-character, as such it works. Some even manage to subvert it, like in The Big Lebowski: Walter figured out the whole plot from the beginning.
  • The Comic Strip Presents: The Supergrass would have been about 15 minutes long had the police actually bothered to investigate Dennis and find that there was no truth to his claims of being a drug dealer. It's the Comic Strip, after all.
  • Dumb and Dumber is one of the few movies that invokes this intentionally (it's in the title) and does it well.
  • Played intentionally and lampshaded in Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.
    • Nothing would have happened if Kumar had the patience to wait until their plane touched down in Amsterdam, where weed is 100 percent legal, to start lighting up. And that's just the beginning. Similar to the original, the severity of their situation is only heightened by the stupidity (and, often, racism) of all the people around them.
    • Further Lampshaded in the Choose Your Own Adventure-esque feature on the DVD ("Dude Change the Movie") where if you have Kumar instead choose to not smoke on the plane the entire movie plot is discarded. (Instead you get Harold and Kumar Go to Amsterdam which is, tonally, very different from Guantanamo Bay.)
  • Done deliberately in Fargo, which surprise surprise is a Coen Brothers movie. The only major character not shown to be a greedy moron is Marge Gunderson, the detective investigating the whole disaster, whose role is entirely reactive. The core plot has Jerry, a greedy car salesman, hire two petty criminals, a weaselly little shit and a callous killer, to kidnap his wife in order to split the ransom his father-in-law will pay, in a plan that he very clearly did not think all the way through. The crooks then kill three people because Carl Showalter forgot to switch the getaway car's dealer plates out and got pulled over, leading to the death of the state trooper who stops them, and two witnesses who saw them. From there, things really start to implode.
  • Galaxy Quest is a fairly well-justified example, between the Thermians, who Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality, and the human cast, who are hopelessly out of their depth and take a fair bit of time to figure out that reality is now running on their old show's conventions.
    Guy: Did you guys ever watch the show?!
  • Idiocracy. Perfectly justified, of course, since the plot of the movie is almost literally "It's the future, and everyone is an idiot." The only non-idiot is the ridiculously average Joe, who is out of his depth and unused to leadership. The one big subversion is that on realizing how much smarter he is than them, they immediately put him in charge.
  • Played for laughs in Mystery Team.
  • Mars Attacks! Although a lot of the scenes are filmed in the style of a straight drama, this parody's plot is run by every possible stupid decision that could be made in the event of an alien invasion.
  • Pretty much a given with Mom and Dad Save the World since Spengo is described as "a planet of idiots".
  • Pain and Gain is constructed entirely around the fact that the main characters' scheme is so stupid that no one believes the Asshole Victim could possibly be telling the truth.
  • Oculus gives us an interesting scenario: there is an evil mirror that alters the perception of anyone within a certain radius, and had caused the protagonists Kaylie and Tim a lot of trouble when they were younger, when it drove their parents insane and framed Tim for their deaths. Tim resolves to get it over with and destroy the mirror, while Kaylie desires to clear their names first. They have multiple cameras and an anchor to go off within a time. The simple solution would be letting the anchor drop and destroy the mirror, but then the mirror cannot be provoked in order to prove that it is an Artifact of Doom without bait.
    • Which doesn't exactly stop the film from veering off into unintentional Idiot Plot territory at times. A lot of the film's events are made possible only by the characters getting distracted by the mirror; furthermore it's established that the only way to truly stop the mirror (to destroy it with the anchor) is to cover it up, as covering it will distract it. Even with the distractions in mind, not once do the characters even attempt to do this.
    • Furthermore, in its video for this movie, CinemaSins pointed out that they should have given up as soon as they got the first evidence: it showed that the illusions were only visible to them, and as a result, the recordings they did got were videos of them performing random actions that they wouldn't remember, but ultimately prove nothing to anyone.
  • Road Trip is a classic example of an Idiot Plot not just done on purpose, but played for laughs. The plot starts when a man in college, who is dating a girl at a college on the other side of a country, decides to make a videotape to send to her, to show how much he misses her. Later, he cheats on her with one of his hot female friends, which also ends up getting videotaped. One of his dorm-mates mails the wrong tape to her, and he and his buddies have no choice but to make a road trip to Boston, where his girlfriend lives, to intercept it. And that's just the tip of the iceberg; it's a miracle they even make it to Boston at all because every single decision that is made is absolutely terrible and results in some side-splitting laughs. Heightening the comedic effect is that the story ends up being a "Shaggy Dog" Story in the end- the tape itself ended up getting taped over by Tom Green's character, who did so when he was high out of his mid. And adding a kicker, the story is told by Tom Green's character, making him the most Unreliable Narrator on earth, as several people call out the leaps of logic in his story as he tells it to them.
  • Requiem for a Dream is a rare example of an intentional idiot plot being Played for Drama. All of the main characters are in the throes of serious drug addictions and rapidly losing touch with reality, which predictably leads them to make a lot of disturbingly irrational decisions.
  • The entire humour of The Three Stooges. The titular trio are the dumbest in the lot, but everyone else makes that a low, low bar to go under.
  • Uncut Gems is made entirely only possible by its main character Howard Ratner being nosebleed inducingly stupid at every turn... which makes sense because he is, after all, a gambling addict in extreme debt. The film paints a VERY realistic picture of a man in this situation, and his gambling problem gets worse and worse as the film goes on.

Alternative Title(s): Live Action Film