From WP's page on the film:
Director Verhoeven says his satirical use of irony and hyperbole is "playing with fascism or fascist imagery to point out certain aspects of American society... of course, the movie is about 'Let's all go to war and let's all die.'"
Consider also the following comment from the same page:
According to the DVD commentary, Paul Verhoeven never finished reading the novel, claiming he read through the first few chapters and became both "bored and depressed.
While I suppose that the person responsible for the drastic change in the tone of the film would probably be the screenplay writer, Edward Neumeier, does anybody know if the movie is supposed to be a satire on war or a parody of the book itself? In either event, was Heinlein's estate (which presumably owns the rights) aware of the intent to mangle the story and message so? What was the reaction of the estate upon release of the film?