Nerenberg's Stupidity is a frequently fascanating but sometimes wandering work that provides some insight into the nature of dumbness. There's a history lesson here: "Idiot" and "imbecile" have specific IQ levels they correspond to, and "moron" is a whole other thing of its own. Talking heads like Bill Maher and Noam Chomsky describe stupidity in our current culture (with Jackass and George W. Bush taking the brunt of the heat), and some of the intellectual discussion here is fascinating. If nothing less, it makes you think twice when you call someone or something "stupid," because of the loadedness of the term.
But Nerenberg pads out this very short movie with man-on-the-street interviews that are really nothing more than thinly vieled attempts to make the average joe look, well, stupid. Other sequences don't really go anywhere at all: The whole affair where an image of Sesame Street's Bert showing up on propaganda posters for Osama Bin Laden is barely an issue of stupidty but rather one of simple oversight and cultural ignorance. Pinning this admittedly amusing incident as a prime example of universal stupidity just doesn't work.
Stupidity is breezy and fun, but the main thing missing is interviews with the truly stupid. It's one thing to talk about them, but where are the Darwin Award winners? Where are the people who make those offbeat news reports every week? It would be fascinating to hear just what they were thinking when they tried to catapult themselves over the house. (And don't tell me Steve-O counts: He's getting paid to be stupid.)
Hmmm... I guess what I'm trying to say is that Stupidity needs to be a little more intellectual. Is that irony? I'm too dumb to figure that one out, really.
Run time: 61 mins
In Theaters: Thursday 1st May 2003
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 2
IMDB: 5.5 / 10
Director: Albert Nerenberg
Producer: Shannon Brown
Starring: George W. Bush as himself, Noam Chomsky as himself, John Cleese as himself, Coolio as himself, Drew Curtis as Himself, Salma Hayek as Herself, David Lawrence as Himself, Bill Maher as Himself, Michael Moore as Himself, Fred Napoli as Narrator, Albert Nerenberg as Himself, Geoff Pevere as Himself, Adam Sandler as Himself, Joel Schumacher as Himself, Paul Spence as Himself, Steve-O as Himself, Josey Vogels as Herself