America: The Motion Picture is an incoherent mess of a cartoon. The worst kinds of comedies are the ones that have to shout every single punchline to make sure the audience gets the joke. Screaming the joke doesn’t make it funnier; it makes you look more desperate. Swearing doesn’t automatically make you funny either. Of course, this movie is supposed to be as grandiose as possible. Loony Tunes does a much better job at it. South Park does a superior job at combining social commentary with adult humor. America: The Motion Picture contains neither of those traits.
The plot is one big sketch idea, which I’m okay with if it had better jokes. George Washington’s (Channing Tatum) friend Abraham Lincoln (Will Forte) is clawed to death by the werewolf shifting Benedict Arnold, who has defected to the Colonists. The plot is supposed to be absurd. The problem lies in the fact that the movie doesn’t know when to let a joke go. The humor behind the jokes is funny. Washington being friends with Lincoln in 1776 is enough to make anyone chuckle. Boy, does this movie want you to know how funny it thinks it is, shattering your eardrum every waking moment from its actors tempting me to press the mute button so I could end the pain.
Unlike most genres, comedy has a stricter set of unwritten rules. One of those rules is to leave a joke alone once it’s been told at least three times unless you are intentionally breaking that rule for the audience. Even then, use fourth-wall-breaking jokes sparingly. When George Washington exclaims his undying friendship for honest Abe by the fifth time, it’s clear the writing department got lost. That or the filmmakers allowed the cast to improvise too much, then animate everything later.
Like watching a comic whose way too confident bomb each moment of the cartoon was excruciatingly redundant humor you would hear in office work parties instead of comedy clubs. AMP looks like Heavy Metal if it were made by an animation student. No matter how much pizazz you make in your epic final battle, everything screams Family Guy visually.
I certainly was. Honestly, I wouldn’t even set that as a complaint if the script didn’t try so painfully hard to be funny. Loony Tunes works because it knew it was breaking the fourth wall but was clever at doing it. When Wile E Coyote flashes up a “HELP” sign, a simple sight gag indicates self-awareness and crippling anxiety. South Park is outwardly offensive while being contemporary in social commentary effectively because children can see things differently than adults do. Plus, they’re vile. Both properties are aware of what they are in tone. America: The Motion Picture attempts to merry the two properties together in just another R-rated cartoon with no distinguishable characteristic.
Only one moment made me laugh. George Washington yells something about defending America. Someone opens up his window uttering “shut the f up!” I couldn’t have said it better myself. I love bombastic films. I’m writing this as I’m listening to the Snyder Cut’s soundtrack. The preview to AMP turned me on. It looked like a fun animated movie. After viewing this, I didn’t feel like I was having fun. I felt like I needed Tylenol.
Do you agree with my rating? Let me know respectfully.