Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Yes Men Fix the World DVD



DVD Review by Kam Williams


Headline: DVD Features Pranksters Infiltrating Corporate America Candid Camera-Style


                Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, aka the Yes Men, are political activists with an unorthodox approach to taking on crooked corporations. These intrepid investigative reporters’ M.O. is to infiltrate organizations with the aim of exposing corruption from the inside out. They even pose as captains of industry and call press conferences to make groundbreaking admissions on behalf of powerful organizations.

                For instance, take the case of Union Carbide/Dow Chemical, the multi-national responsible for the leak of toxic fumes in Bhopal, India which directly led to the deaths of over 25,000 innocent civilians. For years, Dow refused to accept responsibility for the disaster, never cleaning up the waste site or adequately compensating the victims.

                So, the Yes Men sprang into action, mounting an elaborate hoax. One managed to appear on TV on the BBC World News masquerading as a Dow executive, and he announced that the firm had finally decided to admit its culpability in the slaughter and that it would be unilaterally paying billions of dollars in damages.

More recently, the Yes Men went to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina where one posed as a HUD Undersecretary. He proceeded to inform thepress that poor folks evicted from public housing would be allowed to move back into the projects, even going so far as to stage a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The displaced locals were elated until FEMA intervened, saying that no such measure had been authorized.

Sadly, in every instance of such trickery, the beneficiaries’ joy is short-lived, since the Yes Men are invariably exposed as complete frauds. Nonetheless, they are at least able to embarrass avaricious corporate interests by raising pointed questions about the diabolical methods of the rich and powerful.

All of these irrepressible iconoclasts’ audacious exploits chronicled in The Yes Men Fix the World, an alternately hilarious and sobering, guerilla-style documentary which shows just how much havoc two guys with cheap suits and fake websites are capable of wreaking in corporate America.


Excellent (4 stars)


Running time: 87 minutes

Studio: New Video Group/Docurama Films

DVD Extras: Deleted scenes, additional footage of Yes Men antics, theatrical trailer and a biography of the filmmaker.

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