Published Jan 28, 2010Following up The Yes Men, their comically spiced 2003 documentary detailing the anti-corporate impersonation of the World Trade Organization officials on television and at business conferences, Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno continue their Power Point performance art, attacking deregulation and acceptable human risk with The Yes Men Fix the World. It is entirely one-sided and manipulative, satisfyingly creating fleeting chaos within rigid dehumanizing environments, much to the delight of everyone unconcerned with impressing their neighbours by displaying inanimate signifiers of fiscal success.
In setting up professional-looking websites for companies such as Dow and Halliburton, the Yes Men passively finagle invites to conferences and television debates seemingly on their company's behalf. Some may remember the BBC newscast wherein Bichlbaum impersonated a Dow spokesperson, claiming that billions of dollars would go to those suffering in Bhobal from the 1984 chemical disaster, which in turn led to plummeting stock prices for the conglomerate.
A behind-the-scenes look at this stunt, along with the mass production of a The New York Times with fake headlines, comprises most of the doc's narrative, delivering an amusing, if occasionally glib, look at corporate greed. Perhaps most amusingly, the duo discover just how absurd a presentation can be, while maintaining straight-faced results, when proposing a Bubble Boy shell, ostensibly on behalf of Halliburton, to protect individuals in the face of terrorist attack. A related animation shows hundreds of bubble people leaping out of skyscrapers and dancing in the streets and still everyone takes it seriously.
Admittedly, the pranksters acknowledge their inevitable failure in their titular bid to fix the world, recognizing that it is easy to make a suited white person look stupid, but nearly impossible to make them aware of their ignorance. Regardless, the anarchic sensibilities on display make for compelling, often laugh-out-loud viewing, offering didactics without putting us to sleep. (E1)