Go and see it. It’s far from perfect, not always hilarious, cringe-making in parts, but worth two hours of time.
Many of the jokes are groaners, but these are usually followed closely by barely heard zingers. In one scene, following the redemption, our hero is rescued from some violent peace protesters by some soldiers and he is grateful. “Don’t thank us. Thank the recruiters who came to our campus.” Oh, my. Then, very quickly in passing, we see a dumbfounded Columbia student exclaim, “You guys went to college?”
Other moments are worth the price of admission. A terrorist training film displays the benefits of knowing the right address of your target and of showing up on time. A child asks “What’s a demonstration?” and Leslie Nielsen answers “It’s where college students chant what they don’t know, repeating it loudly.” Some Cubans overhear filmmaker Malone say he is returning to the USA (after filming a documentary on that island paradise) and they swarm the boat he is leaving on, trying to go with him: “They must really love me here! They don’t want me to go.” He beats them off with an oar.
In question to the oft-heard “War isn’t the answer” we see what things would be like if Lincoln never fought the civil war as our hero is serenaded by his very own slaves. One of the jokes publicized before the movie came out didn’t make it in the final cut. Gary Coleman, washing a car, tosses a sponge to someone off screen who he now calls “Nelson Mandela.” Eh, not very funny.
It was useful to see the views of the beyond-the-horizon left parodied, particularly through the Rosie O’Donnell character, who produced a “documentary” showing how people fear renegade Christians (well known to be the true perpetrators of terrorism, “Oh no! Not the Christians!”), and who spews loony 9-11 conspiracy theories.
The plot only weakly tries to follow A Christmas Carol, but sticks close enough so you get a rough idea of what is happening.
Towards the end, two terrorists have a change of heart and attempt to disarm a bomb while standing in a bathroom stall. They make many odd, and suggestive, noises while doing so. Some Marines are at the head and overhear the commotion. One gives the other a knowing look. “Sailors,” he says.
I suppose you can’t go too wrong with any movie that starts with Lynard Skynard and ends with Trace Adkins.
I should also note that I saw this movie in Manhattan and that people in the audience were laughing. Loudly. So there is some hope for the country.