‘Yes Men’ is wasted effort
Successful before the 2000 presidential election at creating an anti-Bush Web site that looked like the genuine George W. Bush Web site, two guys calling themselves The Yes Men moved on to a more elaborate scheme.
To discredit the World Trade Organization (WTO), whose corporate globalization they oppose, the Yes Men, who also call themselvesAndy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, set up another parody Web site, substituting their own contact information.
“The Yes Men” is their filmed-as-it-happened chronicle of being invited, usually with cameras in tow, to lecture under false pretenses.
In one instance, we follow them to Finland in 2001 for a Textiles of the Future conference at which one appears under the name Hank Hardy Unruh and defends slavery in Third World countries.
After reading his lecture, he strips off a business suit to reveal a gold lame suit accented by a huge phallus called an Employee Visualization Appendage upon which the wearer can view a surveillance video.
The underlying joke is that most of their presentations are presented so dryly in corporate-speak that the audience — too bored, bewildered or courteous to question or challenge the speaker — applauds perfunctorily at the conclusion.
Time and again, no one gets the joke, much less its politically charged subtext.
The Yes Men intend to have fun at the expense of the WTO and those attending its conferences and to discredit the WTO, thereby achieving a political objective.
But in providing no balanced information on the WTO and very little on what they hope to accomplish, their charades play like “Candid Camera” segments that no one gets or cares about for reasons no one articulates.
As “The Yes Men” drones on with its threadbare production values and congratulatory tone, it leaves all too much time to wonder whether the effort might not have been expended more productively joining the Peace Corps, working in soup kitchens or tending the elderly.
But where’s the big-screen self-approbation in such genuine achievementsâ¢
‘The Yes Men’
Director: Chris Smith, Dan Ollman, Sarah Price
Stars: Mike Bonanno, Andy Bichlbaum
MPAA rating: R for language
Now playing: Squirrel Hill Theater