DVD Review: The Yes Men Fix the World (2009)

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Instead of merely bringing in a ringer to take the other side for all their worth in a game of softball, poker or pool, corporate “mischief makers” The Yes Men work as ringers for CEOs on a global level in an effort to fix the world one elaborate prank at a time.

And although it's the goal of a small town ringer to rake in the dough, Yes Men Andy and Mike aren't in it for the money but rather in an attempt to do the right thing... and if fortune should happen to smile their way and a wrongdoing corporation falls down a few pegs or drops a few billion dollars in stock value in the process, well then that's just the perk of being a CEO ringer.

In this Berlin Film Festival Audience Award winner, the dynamically devious duo put the smack down on any corporations that the guys feel need to be taught a lesson from Exxon to Dow Chemical and others by way of legal loopholes, phony websites and the CG miracle of blue and green screens.

Shortly into this documentary, they plunge Dow stock with the announcement that the company will finally -- on the twentieth anniversary -- accept responsibility for the Bhopal disaster in India by way of a twelve billion dollar settlement in an outlandish act of impersonation.

And in doing so -- as much to our amazement as theirs -- the guys remind news outlets like the BBC that it might be smart to background check a source before letting them broadcast to three hundred million viewers in this absurdly hilarious, smart and shrewd take on what can be accomplished in the misinformation age.

Wisely meeting in Parisian neutral territory aside from some other stunts pulled in London, Canada and the United States, the guys move from terrifying to gross to ridiculous in their approaches to wake up economic superpowers that are now going hand in hand with governments.

And throughout they always manage to evade capture by pulling a ringer bait and switch at conferences where they “fill in” at the last minute for well known officials or public figures that they've persuaded event organizers into believing will appear at various functions -- even tricking the Mayor of New Orleans and Louisiana Governor in the process.

From Halliburton to HUD, nobody is safe when the guys make up their mind. And although the film leaves you with more questions than answers as far as wondering just how exactly the two are not constantly in jail and how they're getting their funding -- like other magicians -- a large part of the entertainment lies in our not knowing just exactly how certain “tricks” are done, even though we're sure that much like everything else they do, it would make one hell of a fascinating story.

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FTC Disclosure:
Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.