Reviewer's Rating 3 out of 5  
The Yes Men (2005)
15Contains strong language

Pranksters take on po-faced politicians in The Yes Men, an uproarious anti-globalisation satire following two comedy activists, Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonnano, posing as spokesmen for the World Trade Organization. Coming on like the outcast offspring of Dom Joly and Naomi Klein, it's pant-wettingly funny stuff as they argue for slavery and announce McDonald's plans to feed the Third World with the recycled excrement of developed nations (!). But what's terrifying is that no one clicks that these outrageous policies are made up.

Bichlbaum and Bonanno became guerrilla activists after their online spoof of the World Trade Organization's website was mistaken for the real thing. Invited to attend various conferences and lectures as WTO representatives, they set out to expose the iniquities of global trade by playing devil's advocate and taking the policies of globalization to deliriously surreal extremes.


So, at a textile conference in Finland "Dr Andreas Bichlbauer" suggests turning the Third World into a pool of slave labour. He also demonstrates a gold "Management Leisure Suit" that has a monitor embedded in an inflatable, head high phallus, which will allow managers easy control of sweatshop workers. Scarily, no one in the audience objects: they just politely applaud.

Hastily thrown together in the editing room, The Yes Men may not have the heavyweight girth of a Michael Moore rant, but it's a welcomely glib addition to the anti-globalization movement. Preaching to the converted, Bichlbaum and Bonanno don't spend much time explaining what's wrong with the system or regurgitating the complete works of Noam Chomsky. Instead they reduce the issues to bite-sized punch lines. It's a fiendishly effective strategy that cuts through dull discussions and trade tariffs to highlight the moral bankruptcy of the WTO. The result's a radical little movie that's definitely worth saying yes to.

End Credits

Director: Chris Smith, Dan Ollman, Sarah Price

Writer: Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno

Stars: Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno

Genre: Comedy, Documentary

Length: 82 minutes

Cinema: 18 February 2005

Country: USA

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