Bill Maher, Various religious folks
Directed by Larry Charles
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2009
101 minutes

Stand-up comic and pundit Bill Maher goes Michael Moore, cute tricks included, in Religulous, an infotainment DVD about religion. If you are expecting something earnest and serious, think again. If you are expecting a really funny DVD, think again again. Religulous is a somewhat sincere, tongue-in-cheek look at religion.

Perhaps Bill Maher is serious in his quest to understand why people believe in a greater power. The problem in Religulous is his smart-ass comments and the frequent use of the Michael Moore cut-to-a-funny-and totally-unrelated-scene-that-pokes-fun-at-this totally undermine whatever sincerity there may have been. Another problem is Maher spends too much time interviewing religious nut jobs and frauds and not enough time with really religious people.

Religulous is an entertaining enough DVD but you do get the feeling it could have been a better movie. Some of Maher’s targets, such as the guy building a creation theme park, to prove man and dinosaur lived together, are too easy. There are a couple of good scenes there such as the impromptu religious debate between some of the tourists and, especially, Jesus explaining the three persons of god through a water image.

There are times it is obvious Bill Maher has done his research but there are other times where you get the distinct feeling he is just winging it and hoping for the best. Maher is also not above getting a few very cheap laughs such as the fake subtitles translating what a Muslim man in complaining about in the mosque scene.

Religulous suddenly becomes very, very serious in its last few minutes. It may be an intelligent, valid point of view but Maher has been too much of a smart ass all the way through to be taken seriously at the end.


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