For a while at least, Memorial Day suggests B-roll left over from an Ocean City, Maryland, edition of The Real World. Realistically performed by a cast of unknowns, the film’s party animals paint their shore town red with expletives, gross displays of genitalia, and monologues about Jews and doughnuts, the street signs around them suggesting we “remember those who have served our country.” Inviting the audience’s disdain for these perpetually performing douchebags, writer-director Josh Fox’s convincingly styled mockumentary appears interested in examining that curious neocon idea that the war in Iraq is meant to protect our freedoms. Is showing your dick or bush to a camera a privilege we enjoy because of our troops or is it one that trivializes their courage? But rather than argue this question, Fox muddles it by revealing his spring breakers to be soldiers on leave. Back in Iraq, the film’s trite, unexamined spectacle of men and women behaving badly proceeds: a forced testicle-shaving, promises of cunnilingus, and childish philosophical rants that wink at the Abu Ghraib–like facility’s torture victims, who appear most pained by the bad improv that fills the air. Placing the onus of the war on the troops, Fox follows Redacted‘s vile moral playbook, only without Brian De Palma’s self-reflexive, formalist gestures.
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