Bush-Era Business Satire Americons Is Toothless


The obvious wordplay in the title is a tip-off that this based-on-a-true-story tale of avarice and corruption in the world of Bush-era real estate speculation will be short on wit or nuance.

Playing like the redundant child of The Wolf of Wall Street and Boiler Room, Americons has its heart and justifiably outraged politics in the right place; it just lacks artistry or real insight. Faded college football star Jason (Beau Martin Williams, who co-wrote the screenplay with Matt Funke) works as the doorman at a trendy nightclub that caters to rich young jerks.

One night Devin (Funke), an especially smarmy speculator, recognizes him from his glory days and decides to hook Jason up at his sleazy but profitable agency. Soon Jason, a melancholy naïf, is knee-deep in drugs, women, and shady deals. When he — with the best of intentions — tries to share the wealth with an old college pal in dire financial straits, the impending catastrophe is writ large for anyone who’s ever seen a movie.

Director Theo Avgerinos is hamstrung by a script that recycles but never refurbishes cliché after cliché about greedy businessmen and the Babylonian world they inhabit, but that doesn’t excuse the film’s flat, cheap look. As Jason, Williams has a slightly wounded quality that is initially fitting and appealing — but it’s the only note he hits.