I don't intend to use this forum to do regular film reviews. However, I do think that an exceptional release on DVD merits attention. The subject matter is controversial, but then again, when has that ever stopped me? OK. I still think it is a must see.
When ‘Politically Incorrect’ ran on ABC late nights, I always marveled at Bill Maher’s courage to say exactly what he was thinking. Often, he expounded on the trouble, confusion and detriments of organized religion. Now, years after the show ended, Maher is back. This time he takes on everyone and everything with the exception of Buddha.
The give and take between Maher and the ‘experts’ on their particular bents moves this documentary into the masterpiece realm. Some favorites of mine were a device inventor’s rationalization for bypassing Sabbath law, brilliant use of Mormon produced media, and a segment filmed in London’s ‘Speaker’s Corner’. Also noteworthy is a hilarious interview in Amsterdam that borders on the recent Letterman/Phoenix bit.
Maher is a master of making his point through simple logic. He doesn’t argue or get frustrated as was apt to happen on P.I. He has learned, and to be fair, has ample time here to let the subjects talk themselves out of any real chance to be taken serious. For his part, Maher states that he just doesn’t know. But whoa unto those who do!
Any documentary on religion is going to be controversial. There are endless schools of thought and most carry ‘serious business’ tags along with them. Credit then, Maher and his team for literally going to the ends of the earth and providing a much-appreciated lighter side to the subject matter.
Finally, Maher concludes with commentary on the 'end times'. You get the sense that throughout the show, he has been amused, frustrated, and above all patient. Here at last, Bill Maher delivers a sermon of his own. And it is nothing short of mind-blowing.