Satirizing pop culture, politics, and the unholy union between the two, American Dreamz is an ambitious comedy with a soundtrack to match. However, the music's ambitions are sometimes greater than what American Dreamz actually delivers: occasionally, the soundtrack serves up some inspired jabs, but too often it feels disjointed. The album does have a lot of satirical ground to cover. Not only does the film parody an American Idol-like reality TV series, it skewers a jittery President of the United States who's more concerned with headlines than the daily briefings his Chief of Staff gives him, and also involves a subplot with a show tunes-loving Afghani terrorist who infiltrates the TV show with a bomb. Surprisingly, and a little disappointingly, the music heard on American Dreamz focuses more on the political aspects of the film than the pop ones. Tracks like "The Presidential," "Summit," "Convoy," and "Motorcade" have a hyper-American, patriotic feel and lavish orchestral arrangements, while "Rizza," "Omer's Secret Stash," and "Jacuzzi Jihad" offer an equally stylized take on Middle Eastern music. All of Stephen Trask's score excerpts are perky and quirky enough to let you know that they're soundtracking a satire, but stop short of being too obvious. The same can't always be said for the songs that appear on the American Dreamz show. Although the super-saccharine "Dreamz with a Z" is undeniably funny, songs like this and "Another Exciting Season" -- which captures the mindless, vague excitement of the American Idol theme song but none of its catchiness -- are more than a little smug. The pop songs on American Dreamz feel like a missed opportunity to be truly subversive; after all, American Idol is a pretty easy target of ridicule. Still, "Mommy Don't Drink Me to Bed Tonight," a maudlin country-pop song sung by Mandy Moore that could be styled after Carrie Underwood's oeuvre, and "Lez Git Raunchy," an urban parody that rhymes "wantcha" with "rocket launcher," should amuse both AmIdol fans and those who think the show is the end of Western civilization. Oddly enough, each part of American Dreamz is done at least fairly well, yet the album ends up feeling disjointed. Die-hard fans of the film may enjoy owning the soundtrack, but it ultimately works better within the context of American Dreamz.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares
feat: Paris Hampton
feat: Chris Klein