Mixed or average reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 37
  2. Negative: 11 out of 37
  1. A blithe, funny, and engaging movie.
  2. 75
    The movie is more slapdash than smooth, more impulsive than calculating, and it takes cheap shots. I responded to its savage, sloppy zeal.
  3. The rare case of a movie that gets better as it goes along.
  4. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Not as incisive a political commentary as "Thank You For Smoking," American Dreamz lampoons the public's appetite for mindless entertainment and easy distraction from serious concerns.
  5. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    American Dreamz pitches its softballs with style. Martin Tweed, the preeningly heartless British host of the title TV show, just may be the great comic role that has always eluded Hugh Grant.
  6. "Network" it's not. Weitz doesn't have the killer instinct for merciless satire but he knows how to stage a gag and deliver a punchline.
  7. 70
    The jokes in American Dreamz whiz by with speed and grace, and Weitz maintains control of the material every minute.
  8. Grant's second coming as a rake and an egotist is the best thing to happen to his career since "Four Weddings and a Funeral." He is twice as enjoyable as the preening bad guy as he was as the bumbling good guy, and Weitz makes perfect use of the new persona.
  9. 67
    Weitz has a winning way with a one-liner, and he's recruited a stellar cast that gets the most out of his material.
  10. Where good satire is drawn with a surgeon's scalpel, this comedy is done with a brush broad enough to paint - or, at least, hit - the side of a barn. But in the softer realm of parody, it has a good premise, a couple of funny performances and enough giggles for a reasonably good time at the movies.
  11. 63
    This movie seems better suited as cable or video fare than for theatrical viewing.
  12. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Pitched too broadly to get very deeply under your skin. Still, there are some smarts at work here, and it will make you laugh.
  13. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    A film with none of the heart that has characterized Weitz's best work and none of the freshness of his most successful.
  14. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Grant, playing a variation on Simon Cowell, resident meanie on "American Idol" and its inspiration, Britain's "Pop Idol," does what's required with seedy panache. Yet the characterization, both as written and acted, lacks a spark.
  15. The only likable characters are ebullient Omer (Sam Golzari), a show-tune-loving reluctant Iraqi suicide bomber who comes to the O.C., and earnest William (Chris Klein), an American GI wounded in Iraq, who are mirror images.
  16. 50
    Gets the details right while missing the big picture.
  17. Hugh Grant's Martin Tweed is nowhere as menacing (or interesting) as the callous bruiser who makes every episode of American Idol a chilling psychotic adventure.
  18. Putting it another way: When spoofs of bad singing and songwriting are the sharpest arrows in your quiver, and your politics are diluted until they hit about as hard as someone sticking their tongue out, your satire has a problem.
  19. 50
    Weitz's idea of satire is generally both ludicrous and mild: exaggerating types, then sentimentalizing them.
  20. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    To keep his satirist’s street cred, Weitz chases the sentimentality with sour slaps at the audience. But for all its supposed outrageousness, American Dreamz has a soft center.
  21. 50
    As in his previous "In Good Company," Weitz wants too much to like all of his characters, and he wants us to like them too. The result is a movie devoid of any threat, or many laughs, with barn door–broad performances.
  22. 50
    The vision of America as a vast, ratings-driven amateur hour is not without promise, but Weitz's movie, named for the most popular TV program in its parallel universe, is disappointingly soft in its individual characterizations.
  23. Reviewed by: Michael Agger
    As a political statement, American Dreamz is overly didactic and liberal in a read-too-many-blogs sort of way.
  24. A moderately engaging satire, some of it amusing and some of it strained, but in considerable measure it reflects a strange circumstance in all our lives.
  25. Maybe America will prove me wrong by voting, but I felt like you were holding back until the end.
  26. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    Combining a gallery of targets including President Bush, "American Idol," the Iraq War and the overarching theme of a nation of citizens held in the thrall of phony dreams, pic and its ambitions are undermined by insistent cartoonishness and comic ineptitude.
  27. 38
    It's a redundant comedy, like hearing the same tired joke for the 100th time.
  28. 38
    A cartoonish, unfocused and mostly unfunny satire.
  29. Reviewed by: Allison Williams
    The movie tires itself out setting up the complex plot.
  30. The writer-producer-director of American Dreamz makes nearly every mistake in the satirical book. His targets are either too easy or too dated. He's inconsistent in his attitudes toward them. His stereotypes are stale.
  31. The jokes don't just fizzle into insignificance; they flop about with gaudy ineffectualness, gasping for air like newly landed trout.
  32. The movie stands as a genuine offense against the venerable and indispensable institution of satire.
  33. Weitz co-directed the wonderful "About a Boy" in 2002, but in "Dreamz" -- a tediously facile satire -- his comic instincts fail him.
  34. 30
    This picture ain't funny. I winced three times, and gave a couple of short laughs, but that was it.
  35. 30
    The director of "American Pie" has set out to make a merciless satire of American media culture along the lines of "Network," but his ideas are so commonplace that nothing registers except the bile.
  36. Weitz doesn't have the chops for satire, let alone black comedy.
  37. Reviewed by: Michael Ferraro
    It is definitely the weakest movie of the Weitz catalog and will certainly be forgotten faster than Hung himself.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 45 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 25
  2. Negative: 13 out of 25
  1. Dec 20, 2010
    One of those attempts by Hollywood to be 'smart' and funny at the same time, but it is just horrid. There is barely anything funny, and at the end of the day, one just wonders why did people spend millions of dollars on such junk like this? This is not smart, this is not funny, this is not satire - it is just a piece of crap. Surprised it had some decent actors in it...Only reason it gets a 2, really. Full Review »
  2. ChristopherR.
    Sep 8, 2007
    You know a movie is bad when you have nothing to do on a Saturday, and yet you still think you're wasting your time watching it. The broad sketch of the idea of the movie: cynicism, reality TV and America's foray into the Middle East, is rife with possibilities for deeply cutting, thoughtful satire, This movie hasn't an ounce of that. You find yourself rewriting scenes in your head with what they could have said and done with each setup. It was most frustrating and unfunny. Yet I doubt I'll remember anything about it in about an hour. Full Review »
  3. MattS.
    Jan 22, 2007
    As satire, this movie is as effective as writing the word "idea" on a hammer and then hitting people on the head with it. The common denominator this movie aims for might actually be lower than the target audience for an Adam Sandler film. It is useful, however, as an example of how not to write satire. Full Review »