Plot: A chainsaw-wielding George Washington teams with beer-loving bro Sam Adams to take down the Brits in a tongue-in-cheek riff on the American Revolution.
Review: Based on the trailer alone, America: The Motion Picture should have been the definitive patriotic spoof in film history. With the animation prowess of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller as producers and the creative team behind FXX series Archer as writers and director, this revisionist romp blends everything red-blooded Americans love in their movies: sex, violence, profanity, and winning. With a top-notch voice cast and no regard for historical accuracy, America: The Motion Picture starts out strong before becoming a repetitive and unfunny mess.
America: The Motion Picture is a cross between Comedy Central’s Drunk History through the lens of 1980s action movies like Predator and Rambo. There is no effort for the film to make any sense as the story kills historical figures that survived the war, transplants Abraham Lincoln to Colonial America, and changes race and gender without batting an eye. The entire movie plays like a dare between drunken and stoned college kids trying to one-up each other with insane ideas that border on offensive. There are gay jokes aplenty as well as humor that sounds smart but is so obvious that many may end up rolling their eyes.
There are many comedies that revel in insane and ridiculous jokes that work despite the stupidity of their plots. Films like Sausage Party are funny because the crass humor is supplemented with a unique and original take. The jokes in that film don’t repeat themselves ad nauseum. America: The Motion Picture opens with a batshit crazy culling of the Founding Fathers as they play beer pong. Benedict Arnold (Andy Samberg) proceeds to wipe them out before turning his sights on Abraham Lincoln (Will Forte) and his best friend George Washington (Channing Tatum). After turning into a werewolf, Arnold kills Lincoln whose dying wish is for George to name the new country America. All of that happens within the first ten minutes of the movie.
From there, the movie aims to bring elements of contemporary filmmakers like John Woo and franchises like The Fast Saga and the Marvel Cinematic Universe into a two-dimensional animated world. But, as the film moves from scene to scene, rarely any of which make a lick of sense, we find Washington assembling his Avengers-esque squad of heroes including beer bro Sam Adams (Jason Mantzoukas), mentally stunted horseman Paul Revere (Bobby Moynihan) and Chinese female inventor Thomas Edison (Olivia Munn). John Henry (Killer Mike) and Geronimo (Raoul Trujillo) also join in the fight against the tyrannical King George (Simon Pegg).
It is impossible to assign much sense to this movie which also features Civil War-era nurse Clara Barton and 20th-century architect I.M. Pei. This movie feels like a lot to take in but is easily forgettable after you finish watching it. Still, the film has many moments that made me laugh, including a killer soccer ball and a unique origin for how the bald eagle was born.
America: The Motion Picture is an incredibly dumb movie that knows how stupid it is. Still, even the dumbest jokes can make people laugh and I am sure many audiences may end up enjoying this bonkers epic through American history. I have enjoyed the previous efforts from director Matt Thompson (Archer, Frisky Dingo) and Lord/Miller, but this movie crosses into being too stupid to enjoy. Not strong enough to be a satire or a parody, America: The Motion Picture is a forgettable mess that will make you roll your eyes more than laugh.
America: The Motion Picture is now streaming on Netflix.