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A “documentary” about world religion written by and starring Bill Maher

Hm. On the one hand, this is very funny, and made me laugh very hard. Maher, representing himself as part of a film company making a movie about religion, went to and interviewed (or tried to interview, he got thrown out of several places (like the Vatican) as soon as they found out who he was) a wide variety of religous groups and people. There are film clips (including one of Maher from The Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death, made me laugh hard), comments onscreen making fun of whoever is speaking (not Maher, of course), and a lot of shots of Maher in the back seat of a vehicle, talking about religion, his views on it, where they’re headed to, etc.

He even interviews his mother and sister about their family and how they were raised in regard to religion.

On the other hand, very few of the people he interviews get a fair shake. It is only a 100 minute movie, and he hits a LOT of religions and pseudo-religions and religious groups, so there isn’t a lot of time, but still. And when he does talk to people, he hardly lets them get a word in edgewise; you can tell that longer interviews were cut to make the points he wants to make and to make him funnier.

So yes, go see this; like Michael Moore’s movies, even if you hate it, it’s a good discussion starter. It’s funny, it’s short, and I do agree with a lot of what he has to say (although his final conclusion, that all religion needs to be abolished because it’s the real source of most the trouble in the world (look, I just saved you ten bucks! aren’t you glad?)) is not something I agree with; dogmatic, fundamentalist, narrowminded religious belief is wrong and bad and you should stop doing that RIGHT NOW…but there are many people with firmly held religious beliefs who have no problem with others believing what they will, do not proselytize, and are indeed firm supporters of teaching evolution in school. I’m married to one of them (Hi, honey!)

So see it, laugh, take it with a grain of salt, enjoy yourself. But this movie is too one-sided to open anyone’s eyes or change those whose minds are already made up. It’s mostly Maher’s big grandstanding vehicle. And that’s a shame, because he had some interesting points to make…and they are pretty much lost in the silliness.

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