One of the running gags in An American Carol, a political satire produced in part by right-leaning Hollywood movie stars—and yes, such people do exist—is that a fat, boorish, left-wing filmmaker has won an Oscar for his documentaries but really, really wants to direct a feature film, with a budget and a screenplay and some actors and so on. Whenever Michael Malone (Kevin Farley) tells someone that he once won an Oscar, the other person inevitably replies, "For a documentary," and we can tell, from Malone's facial expression, that he, too, believes deep down that the trophy on his mantle doesn't really give him all that many bragging rights.
The irony is that, in this day and age, with late-night talk-show hosts regularly mining the news for funny, revealing clips, some of the most effective political satires have, in fact, been documentaries. Sure, the films of Michael Moore and others have dropped any pretense of objectivity, and have sometimes played pretty loose with the facts. But if it's politically pointed satire you want, what would you rather watch? Fahrenheit 9/11, with its footage of actual American politicians saying and doing actual silly things? Or Canadian Bacon, with its actors playing politicians and reciting the so-so dialogue that Moore has written for them?
Likewise, An American Carol may be mildly amusing in places if you share the film's political sensibility, but there is nothing quite as interesting here as watching, say, a YouTube clip of politicians contradicting themselves on some policy or other. It doesn't help that the film, co-written and directed by David Zucker (who, together with his brother Jerry and Jim Abrahams, gave the world Airplane! and the Naked Gun movies), is not particularly ...1