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Thursday, 29 April 2010 17:00
April 30 through May 2, 2010
Reviewed by Diane Carson
When the camera operated by the man who calls himself Mike Bonanno first catches the man who calls himself Andy Bichlbaum, Andy's on his way to a live BBC news interview in Paris. He will claim to represent Dow Chemical to announce that, on the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster, Dow will do the right thing and pledge $12 billion for a fund to aid the victims. Dow has made no such decision, nor does Andy represent them. He and Mike, real names Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos, are the Yes Men.

Adopting various personas, they travel the world satirizing corporate greed. As they say in an early scene, "We Yes Men pass ourselves off as representatives of corporations we don't like." They set up fake web sites and wait for invitations to media interviews, conferences and high-level meetings where their hoaxes will embarrass the powers-that-be and reveal the harm done by unfettered greed. Their targets play in the big leagues. In addition to Dow Chemical, The Yes Men Fix the World involves Halliburton, HUD, Exxon, and even fools the BBC.

Their documentary approach somewhat recalls recent work by Sacha Baron Cohen and Michael Moore; that is, they all have a heightened sense of outrageous humor. I've seldom laughed so hard. But within the Yes Men's pranks also lies a refined, ethical condemnation of what the "free market" has done to its victims. When these victims go on record regarding the hoaxes, they're usually glad about the points that were made. As Andy says after handing out a July 4, 2009 fake edition of The New York Times reporting what they hope the news will be (the Iraq War Ends, for example), "If a few guys at the top can make all this bad news happen, why can't all of us at the bottom make good news happen." Andy and Mike are immensely entertaining as well as poignant social critics.

The Yes Men Fix the World is a St. Louis premier, at Webster University's Winifred Moore auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 30th and Sunday, May 2nd. For information and the current schedule, you may call 314-968-7487 or you may go to the web site.

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