So last night I saw Religulous, a documentary starring Bill Maher and directed by Larry Charles, who did Borat. (And if I may leap off-topic immediately, I’m still saddened that my Borat experience was ruined by not knowing that most of the people in that movie were non-actors who believed that they were in a legitimate documentary, which would’ve made it a LOT funnier. Since the first few minutes were obviously scripted, I figured the rest was too. Bummer for me.)
Religulous is a very entertaining, extremely funny movie, but though it wants to be a thought-provoking attack on religion, it really only works on the level of “Bill Maher makes fun of a few idiots.” A documentary that ends with the message that religion is going to bring about the complete destruction of the world should pick more challenging interview subjects than a guy who plays Jesus at an Orlando theme park. An interview with a reformed homosexual who’s in the business of un-gaying people is laugh-out-loud funny…but he’s too easy of a target, as is a store owner whose most impressive religious miracle is that one time it started to rain when he asked it to (“Your bar for miracles is pretty low,” Maher tells him).
It’s well worth seeing to watch Maher having fun with some whackos, but whatever beliefs you carry into the movie, you’re going to carry right back out with you.