We aren't the brightest sack of hammers in the bunch. In fact, we're not even clever enough to understand what stupidity is. That's the premise of Stupidity, a film that amounts to a giant "I'm With Stupid" t-shirt pointing straight at North American culture. It's a documentary that manages to be informative and thoughtful while simultaneously pandering to and mocking its audience. Not an easy line to walk.
Throughout the film, the viewer is repeatedly informed of the dumbing down of popular entertainment, from Calgary's own FUBAR to the American idiot phenomenon of Jackass. But while director Albert Nerenberg takes his shots at short attention spans and lowered expectations, he fills Stupidity with countless clips of moronic entertainment just to keep the audience interested. He clearly understands his audience can only take so much intellectualizing on the origin of the term "moron" and speculation about why we're retreating into stupidity before demanding to see someone poop on the floor or smash their head through a window.
The most pleasantly surprising part of the film is the part I feared would be the worst: the inevitable attack on George Dubya. The movie poster makes this attack inevitable, but it isn't as one-sided as you might expect.
The film still feels the need to point out a few of the more infamous Bush-isms, but it also considers the fact that you can't become the most powerful man in the world without at least some intelligence. By admitting that Bush's "moron" status is at least partly a way of endearing him to a culture that derides intelligence as elitist, Stupidity rises above the mindless post-Bowling for Columbine presidential potshots that have become a reflex in independent culture.
Stupidity is an intelligent look at a topic that rarely receives one, but it's also filled with enough moronic delight to entertain even the most anti-intellectual jackass. Given that the screenings are a fundraiser for the CISF's $100 film festival and will occur in the obscenely comfortable Sofa Cinema in the Currie Barracks, you'd be stupid not to go.
Stupidity runs through Fri., Feb.15 at the Alberta College of Art & Design, before moving to the CSIF Sofa Cinema, Currie Barracks, Building J2, Feb.16 to 22.