“Give me productivity, or give me death.”
Brave New World, Blade Runner, 1984, who doesn’t love them a dystopian society? How about some Zach Galifianakis in a dystopian world run by the Jeffers Corporation which controls emotion through productivity and happy talk? Yeah, I was excited.
I saw Visioneers long before The Hangover and his recent film cameos. I saw this based on my love of him in the documentary TV show, The Comedians of Comedy. Now that we have all seen Zach in both Hangovers, in a Kanye West video, and everywhere that he has shown up, this film is that much more obviously Zach’s vehicle.
There is this tense, awkward, and odd little man working for the Jeffers Corporation as a level three manager. He is the boss for a few other people in a room with him. He has a little flirt-affair with a woman he’s never seen, on a higher floor, one that drives a large portion of the film. The second story line is the important and driving force in the film, people are exploding. The tension, the lack of expressive emotion, and it is leading to spontaneous combustion of people at Jeffers and in the world.
As a complete antithesis to George Washington Winsterhammerman, a direct descendant of George Washington himself, is George’s brother, who comes to live in George’s backyard and start a rebel “community” of freedom of emotion, and to pole vault. This rebel force and this free brother drives George crazy and frustrates him. Seeing his loveless marriage, unhappy wife, and this love affair for the girl on level four, starts to add up, and he starts to exhibit symptoms that are known to lead to exploding. Symptoms like being tired, having dreams, impotence, fantasizing…at all.
Things really start to unravel when Charisma is fired after becoming “unproductive.”
The story is quiet, very dry humor, but lead to my erupting in laughter at points while smiling most of the time. The dialogue is hilarious in a dark and odd manner. One of my favorite scenes was the explosion on another floor as Zach gets a call about it, not to panic. One of his co-workers explodes as well.
A couple great little things that will strike you from the first moment is the stark office, the “storage room” that looks to just be tape on the wall in the shape of a door, and the greetings; “Jeffers morning.” This accompanied by the friendly finger which has replace the wave that we enjoy now. Level threes are Tunts, level fours are Goobs, and chaos is pronounced with the “ch,” not the “k.”
It is an odd, funky film with subtleties and little layers that take a second watching or at least some rewinding. Zach embodies the old adage, “most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” I think it is a fun watch, but it is a slow burn and not for everyone. It’s Zach as you’ve never seen him, so give it a try.