13 March 2010

The Yes Men Fix the World (Andy Bichlbaum & Mike Bonanno, 2009)

I saw the original Yes Men film several years ago but I was probably to intoxicated to remember it too well, since I don't really. Culture jammers The Yes Men are back to their old tricks, using the media against itself and satirizing corporate culture. I know there's a way to be cynical about this movie and I know it's easy to dismiss many of the things they do but I think it's always easiest to be cynical. I must confess to generally being sort of cynical about culture jamming activities, although if there's anything No Impact Man had to say it's that the most important thing is getting people involved, and keeping them involved, I guess. I guess what this movie does is it sets up a rather ugly picture of corporatist culture in the status quo and then shows how possible it should be to change that. It's certainly entertaining but it definitely had highs and lows for me. My favorite part was where they blanketed New York with the fantasy New York Times for a month in the future when all these things has changed. I guess it's natural for people in New York to be thrilled about those kind of changes but I'm sure that the majority of the people in this country would feel elated if just some of those things started happening. I also like the bits that refer to restoring public housing in New Orleans and to cleaning up after the Bhopal disaster, not because they're particularly entertaining to watch but rather because they made me think a little bit about all that. I guess the weakest parts for me were, ironically, the one pictured above where they suggest fuel made out of dead humans at a gas and oil expo and also the one where they present a fake Halliburton product for surviving catastrophes.
I was a little surprised that they never mentioned Naomi Klein since they seemed to give an introduction to her theory of the Shock Doctrine and since there was so much in there about her bête noire Milton Friedman. I suppose it's intentional to keep the thing rooted in common sense and the better sense of our better angels than to start muddying the waters with an overt politicism that could prove alienating to some viewers? I don't know.
Anyway, I enjoyed the film and I feel like it's on the side of out better natures, which kind of means justice and goodness to me. B/B+

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