“The Yes Men Fix the World,” the latest from corporate pranksters the Yes Men, opens today in the US, courtesy of Shadow Distribution. A survey of what critics are saying about the film:
“A sequel to their first film, ‘The Yes Men’ (2004), ‘The Yes Men Fix the World’ continues the saga with the heroes’ greatest stunt—one going live on BBC World in the guise of a Dow Chemical spokesman with the Pynchonian handle of ‘Jude Finisterra’ to announce that Dow would mark the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal chemical disaster with a $12 billion aid plan for the victims,” writes the Village Voice’s J. Hoberman. “The BBC, which had taken the bait of a faux-website, blamed the Yes Men for fooling the poor people of Bhopal into thinking they would get justice. But Fix the World asks that the spectator decide which hoax was crueler—the Yes Men’s, which at least directed attention back to Bhopal, or Dow’s.”
“It takes some nerve, not to mention diabolical intelligence and financial resources, to pull off the elaborate pranks devised by Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno (who are in real life Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos), the antiglobalization activists and satirical performance artists known as the Yes Men,” writes the New York Times’ Stephen Holden. “Whether their high jinks accomplish much beyond momentarily embarrassing the corporations and government agencies they misrepresent at business conferences and public forums is an open question. But it is great fun to watch them do their dirty work.”
Time Out New York’s Stephen Garrett: “he stunts are exhilarating, as much for their audacity as for the gullibility of their targets. But once the ruse is exposed, the short-term gain of humanist outrage evaporates into the chum of an obfuscating news cycle. God bless their antics, but the Yes Men’s jestful jousting feels more like tilting at windmills.”
“By operating under the guise of certain characters—rather than blatantly moralizing—they avoid the abrasiveness of Michael Moore and his ilk,” notes Eric Kohn in his review for indieWIRE. “The movie culminates with the duo’s effective (and very recent) distribution of a fake New York Times issue predicting a utopian future six months away (‘Iraq War Ends,’ declared one prominent headline). Unlike other globally situated documentaries, ‘The Yes Men Fix the World’ has the guts to display some optimism about the future.”
New York Magazine’s David Edelstein calls the film a “glorious testimony to the moral power of satire.”
“Self-proclaimed anarchists, the Yes Men aren’t shy in Fix the World about proclaiming their disdain for free-market capitalism,” writes Mimi Luse in The L Magazine. “This can sometimes make the film seem a little preachy and elemental, but the ironic backgrounds (flooded Katrina, Victorian gay porn, dollar signs) that they’ve bluescreened behind the talking heads of much reviled representatives from the Competitive Enterprise Institute and other free-market think tanks are still, like, totally hilarious.”
Slant Magazine’s Bill Weber: “Given that Bichlbaum and Bonanno aren’t above funny cheap shots like green-screening Tom of Finland art behind a solemn Milton Friedman-school economist, their exposure of ossified free-market mindsets seems more in line with their skills than a call to activism against a global capitalist oligarchy.”
Read an interview with the Yes Men, Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonnano.
Watch the trailer for “The Yes Men Fix the World” on YouTube.