Only Disconnect
American Beauty is a swindle that exposes the naivete of the critics who praise it, the people who fall for it. In return, they get the smug comfort of satisfying cynical views of suburbia, teenagers, wives, husbands, business, homosexuality, technology, violence?the all-American cliches. Superior movies such as the new satirical Breakfast of Champions and the humanist Mumford haven't rung the zeitgeist gong because they refuse a package deal?alibis for middle-class arrogance. Instead of glossing what's wrong with American life through facile symbolic characters, directors Alan Rudolph and Lawrence Kasdan enter the fray and dramatize the confusions that keep people apart and make social changes frightening.