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If laughter is the best medicine, The Yes Men are the best physicians I’ve seen in a long while.
This pair of merry pranksters just released their new movie, The Yes Men Fix the World, and after seeing it last night at Houston’s Angelika Theater, I’m still laughing.
Here’s the trailer:
In the world of the Yes Men, not only does Dow Chemical accept responsibility for the Bhopal disaster, but Exxon pays billions to rebuild the wetlands it’s destroyed, the Department of Housing and Urban Development pays to rehab public housing instead of tearing it down, and the New York Times leads with an end to the Iraq War, nationalization of the oil companies with profits to fight climate change and George Bush indicted for high treason.
The pair create fake websites and field invitations to corporate events, where they pose as company representatives hawking everything from candles made of human flesh to the “SurviviBall,” an inflatable disaster suit designed to protect the rich from “anything nature can throw at you.” The performances are slapstick laughable, but their antics illustrate the dark side of corporate globalization. When the media condemns them for raising false hopes with their “cruel hoax,” they visit Bhopal and Katrina to consult with disaster victims and learn their stories.
Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno are two guys in cheap suits and geeky glasses whose outrageous sense of humor is only matched by their sense of outraged justice. Their escalating series of escapades lands them in hot water when journalists catch on to their act, but they are eloquent in flipping lies into truth.
Their aim is not just to entertain, but to catalyze. The last scene pans the crowds receiving the fake New York Times and focuses on the readers’ faces, wavering between incredulity and hope.
“If a few people at the top can make the bad news happen, why can’t all of us at the bottom make the good news happen for real?” Bonanno demands. But, he adds, “It would take more than two guys in cheap suits with fake websites. It would take millions…”
The camera pans back to the milling crowd… and as the credits roll, the Yes Men plan their next move.