Scare-n-hype 411

Free mandatory screenings of this upbeat, people-positive documentary improve America's economic outlook!

Published July 6, 2004 7:30PM (EDT)

From Pet Goat Studios, a subsidiary of Triumph of the Bull Productions, comes the best picture since "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians," reports the Joint Secretaries of Pollyannattacks, Sleepy, Dopey and Michael Eisner.

Hailed by newly hired movie reviewers everywhere as "one of the coziest, happiest, and fuzziest films of the year," "Scare 'n Hype 411" is a kindly examination of the good times ushered in by the Bush administration's economic policies and other smart moves.

According to an exclusive in Us & Them magazine, the Carlyle Group will sponsor free mandatory screenings of the film everywhere from now through November, with a 24-hour gala marathon set for Nov. 2.

The movie uses a combination of comforting narrative and subliminal Terror Alerts to tell the heartwarming story of families who are doing just fine, thank you very much.

The movie also takes on many stereotypes about wealthy Americans, allowing them to set the record straight once and for all.

"I would say we're comfortable," a man corrects a panhandler who has maliciously wedged himself under the man's speeding BMW. Shortly afterward, single mothers and developing nations are unmasked by detectives as the true culprits responsible for unleashing the deadly poverty virus on an unsuspecting public. Jesus Christ makes a brief cameo appearance to explain that his Sermon on the Mount was just a harmless prank and that his real agenda was to share the good word about the resurrection of tax cuts.

"After all," says the BMW driver, "if the common good were available to just anybody, who would appreciate it?"

Speaking in curiously flat tones, tens of thousands of people who left theaters opening night told reporters, "All people in all places at all times must see this movie."

Many viewers were moved by a scene in which Mr. Average (played by Bruce Willis) tells Mrs. Average (played by Britney Spears), "Honey, you can stop going to town to sell your brain as a common scientific researcher into global climate change. I got me a job manufacturing burgers. All we need now is faith, a health savings account, and a permanent tax cut for the nice folks who live on the hill."

The camera pulls back to reveal the Average family gazing serenely up at the hill, as the father says proudly, "Some day, kids, all that trickle-down will be yours."

Others joined long lines at nearby music stores to purchase the soundtrack.

"I don't mind waiting in long lines," said Jim Smith, a 53-year-old unemployed electrical engineer. "In the last two years, I've had a lot of practice at it."

The movie soundtrack, which is expected to reach No. 1 shortly after Clear Channel buys up the last radio station, features such titles as "Let the Deficit Soar," "Don't Whistleblow While You Work," "I'm Stickin' it to the Union," and "You're Havin' My Baby (Like it or Not)."

Among the highlights is a dream sequence in which John Snow, Don Evans and Elaine Chao offer up a toe-tappin', knee-slappin', awkwardly-rappin' version of "Accentuate the Positive." The three-part harmonizers bring the song 'n dance on home by messing with, then eliminating Mr. In-Between.

"It was nice to see how politely and civilly they made all the In-Betweeners disappear," said one woman. "It wasn't graphic or violent. They didn't make it personal at all."

The woman, who identified herself only as "my child's mother and my husband's helpmate," said, "This movie taught me that even if we lose everything -- our jobs, our benefits, our civil liberties -- we can still think of ourselves as middle-class. It's all about voting for what matters. Because when you get right down to it, what good is a living wage and affordable healthcare going to do you if gay hooligans break into your house and start attacking your marriage?"

The biggest scene-stealer of the movie came when Alan Greenspan was rolled out of a secret compartment hidden in the walls of Congress to perform "Let's Do the Rate Hike Again." This segued into a big production number, which was set in a former Ohio manufacturing firm and filmed entirely on location in India, China, Mexico and Bulgaria. Not a single union buster was harmed in the making of this movie.

The movie also includes footage from television news segments, including a debate in which Tabitha Walker, a 3-year-old homeschooler from Santa Cruz, Calif., asks, "But won't the impact of higher interest rates on consumption be exacerbated by their effect on housing and mortgage refinancing?"

News anchorwoman "Model 9 Blonde Talkomatic 2000" parries the question with a nifty head swivel, and then retorts, "Up next, choosing the right bug spray this summer for your kids ... DEET or no?"

But the most stirring sequence is the penultimate scene, in which a young man on the eve of his surrender to Wal-Mart, bids farewell to his mother:

"Tom Snode: Maybe it's like Ashcroft says. A fellow ain't got privacy of his own, -- maybe just a little peace in the big privatization, the one big secret energy company that belongs to a few deserving souls, then --

Ma: Then what?

Tom Snode: We'll be all around in the dark -- we'll be everywhere. Wherever you can look -- wherever there's a fight in Iraq, so wealthy people can eat, we'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, we'll be the guy. We'll be there in the way Cheney yells when he's mad. We'll be there in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know budget cuts are ready, and when some people are cheatin' the tax structure the rest of us support, and livin' in the second houses they built on untaxed profits, we'll be th-- oh wait, we're still waitin' on the invite to that one."

The movie closes with a charming montage of sun-dappled wheat fields, nuclear families watching a fireworks display, the farmer in the dell, the happiest girl in the whole USA, a butcher, a baker, a fundamentalist policymaker, a basket of kittens, and workers in hardhats enjoying a wholesome chuckle over a blueprint. A news crawl at the bottom of the screen reminds viewers to report any suspicious voter registration and to expect terrorist attacks as they exit through the central mall.

Following the movie, many people attended house parties, where they enjoyed such activities as giving samples of their DNA, playing games like "Who Wants to be a Hundred-aire?" role-playing how to say no to estate tax, entering their names in a raffle to visit Baghdad for a very long time, and learning calligraphy techniques, which they then practiced on anti-gay marriage petitions.

"It's good to see this country doing what it's told," said Frank Johnson, 35. "That's why we have freedom in this country, so people can conserve it and put it to wise use."

Johnson, who suffers from Short Man Syndrome that can only be treated by gun therapy, says he is also heartened by the rise of lower-wage jobs, which are growing at a much faster pace than higher-wage jobs. "The way I see it, that just means more jobs for me. Besides, I'm this close to winning the lottery."

By Joyce McGreevy

Joyce McGreevy is a writer in Portland, Ore.

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Business Great Recession Unemployment U.s. Economy