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MOVIE REVIEW

'American Carol' fights for the right to be silly

October 06, 2008|Gary Goldstein | Special to The Times

If "An American Carol" contained any real bite or intelligence, those so inclined could've legitimately griped about its shallow anti-liberalism. But given that this supremely silly satire directed by "The Naked Gun's" David Zucker (from a script he wrote with Myrna Sokoloff and Lewis Friedman) plays more like something slapped together to beat an expiration date, it's hard to get too worked up about it.

Kevin Farley (Chris' brother) humorously channels his inner -- and outer -- Michael Moore as "fictional" documentarian Michael Malone, an antiwar activist and primo slob campaigning to abolish the Fourth of July. "Christmas Carol"-style, Malone is shown the error of his ways by the ghosts of American icons John F. Kennedy (Chriss Anglin), Gen. George Patton (Kelsey Grammer) and George Washington (Jon Voight), along with a musically inclined Angel of Death (country-western star Trace Adkins), all while a trio of bumbling jihadists (Robert Davi, Serdar Kalsin and Geoffrey Arend) buzz around (long story).

It's a gag-strewn, hit-and-miss affair that's not without its chuckles (a "Kumbaya"-singing Adolf Hitler and a Rosie O'Donnell send-up are highlights). A hodgepodge of recognizable faces including Leslie Nielsen, James Woods, Dennis Hopper and, heaven help us, Paris Hilton and Bill O'Reilly, somehow factor in as well.

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MPAA rating: PG-13 for rude and irreverent content, and for language and brief drug material. Run time: 1 hour, 23 minutes. In general release.

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