Proud American

If America is even half as great as writer-producer-director Fred Ashman’s almost unfathomably cheesy movie insists, its citizens will rise up and destroy this bathetic rubbish — or at least make a pitilessly derided cult sensation of it on the midnight-movie circuit. Ashman’s literal melting-pot approach to dramatization — think Reader’s Digest by way of corporate training video — intends a tribute to our virtuous excellence: Turns out that with a little tolerance, optimism, elbow grease and bad acting by dimly familiar TV talent, the great experiment works! Well, shucks, it’s not that Ashman’s wrong, exactly; who doesn’t love bloated, feel-good arrangements of patriotic pop ditties and sweeping aerial views of national monuments? It’s just that those treacly up-by-the-bootstraps origin myths of the Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart companies, which happen to be among the movie’s corporate sponsors, might benefit from some good ol’ American critical thinking. And no, Yakov Smirnoff’s “What a country!” routine doesn’t count.

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