March 19, 2010

300 Words About: The Yes Men Fix the World

Meet ExxonMobil's most enthusiastic executives...

If Sacha Baron Cohen and Michael Moore teamed up to make a documentary, the result would be The Yes Men Fix the World, the new documentary about Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno's pranks on corporate America. These two guys created the film, of course, so to say it's one-sided would be a massive understatement. It's nothing more than a calling card for them to move on to something bigger and better (say, a TV show), but they are hilarious actors and despite the silliness of their pranks, their commitment to activism does seem pretty genuine.

Here's the set-up: Bichlbaum and Bonanno, leaders of an activist group known as "The Yes Men", worm their way into corporate meetings and conventions and pose as top executives for high-profile American businesses (Dow, Exxon, Halliburton, to name a few) - and sometimes even the American government. That they are able to actually get stage time and do interviews with the press using completely fake identities is not even the most impressive part.

No, what's really shocking is just how long they are able to keep up the act as they spout bizarre and occasionally offensive nonsense in order to humiliate whichever corporation, government agency or media conglomerate they are "representing". They are wildly fearless and, at this point, they are probably widely feared.

Whether or not you agree with the Yes Men's methods, you'll probably find something to laugh about in their ridiculous presentations about golden skeletons (representing the human cost of doing business), "Vivoleum" or the SurvivaBall. Actually, scratch that - you will not be laughing at anything in this movie if you are a disciple of Milton Friedman, whose economic philosophies are pilloried here. 

See, at the root of the Yes Men's activism is their disdain for corporate greed and all of its effects, from pollution to war to global warming. But alas, at times the Yes Men's antics end up distracting us from their message; we laugh in the moment but miss the true meaning and relevancy of the joke. In other words, while they've produced some memorably comedy in their attempts to fix the world, it's not as easy to see what progress they have actually made.

Docurama Films will release The Yes Men Fix the World on DVD on 4/1/10 (April Fool's Day - of course)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails