Tom Shadyac would like to save us all, and if the director of Liar Liar and Bruce Almighty doesn't seem especially suited to such an endeavor, he does bring in some major-league help. Disillusionment with his high-end lifestyle, combined with a serious cycling accident, led Shadyac to trade in the private jets and McMansions for a mobile home---and a new outlook on life. The former blockbuster-helming hotshot then set off to explore two sizable questions: What's wrong with the world, and what can we do about it? Naturally, he brought along a camera crew.
The resulting shambolic documentary threads Shadyac's personal journey---amounting to the revelation that, guess what? You can't buy happiness---through interviews with legit heavyweights like Bishop Desmond Tutu, the late historian Howard Zinn and even some squishier self-help types. All of this touching and feeling makes I Am a so-awful-it's-mesmerizing mash-up of Hollywood entitlement and earnest goodwill. There's no questioning Shadyac's googly-eyed sincerity, but the film has all the depth of a late-night dorm-room exchange. Every point made about the terrible things done in the name of competition is countered by a reassurance regarding the power of "good vibes." By the time Shadyac demonstrates how thinking about calling his agent can magically affect a petri dish of yogurt (?!?), it seems the simplest way to make the world a better place might be to eliminate indulgent vanity projects like this.