Just got home from Bill Maher's "documentary" Religulous. Very enjoyable, but suffers from the same blight that seems to befall all theatrical "documentaries;" there's either no thesis to be found, or nothing in the meat of the film to support the stated thesis.
Much of the film does a really good job of pointing out all the silly little things that followers of various religions take for granted as being normaller than all the crazy stuff those other religions teach, largely in ways that even fervent proponents of said religions can take to heart without being too offended. Not to say that Bill Maher doesn't show off his usual level of douchebaggary, slyly making fun of people through irony to which they don't catch on. There's plenty of that in the film, some of it really funny. While adding to the enjoyment of the film, these awkward moments are often filled with pretty heavy-handed edits that really make me wonder what, exactly, it was that was really said/meant. Not sure whether what was depicted was real, but very sure that it was funny.
All in all, if one is looking for a Jackass / Da Ali G Show-style collection of disparate funny situations (possibly taken out of context) poking light-hearted fun at various tenets of the religious, one will not be disappointed with this film. This reviewer, however was left cold by both Maher's stated thesis (that religion is going to lead man to its doom) and the fact that he didn't actually use any of the film's screen time to support it. He opened and closed the film in Megiddo, talking about prophesy and mankind's inherent need to destroy itself, but everything in-between was the religious equivalent of fart jokes. Mormon underwear, Jihadist rappers, intergalactic overlords; really, the only "ha ha religion is so silly" element missing was the prophecies embedded in so-called Bible Code. But it sure was funny.
Next time, Bill, I'd suggest keeping it light-hearted; abandon your unsupported thesis and let us enjoy your religious fart jokes for what they are: really funny religious fart jokes.
For those looking for a more light-hearted, informational (and oddly more reverent) look at the various idiosyncrasies Earth's religions manifest, I'd heartily suggest checking out Australia's John Safran VS. God as well as Religulous. You won't be disappointed.
The author lives in Vancouver, Washington, USA with his girlfriend and a menagerie of cats, rats, fish, birds, guinea pigs and robots.
Among other inanities, he strives to use investigative techniques to work young starlet breasts into every aspect of rational discourse -- focusing on the discourse, thus making it not perverted. Also, has recently begun a career as "Internet hairstylist."
He can be contacted via email and Jabber IM at 'firstname.lastname@example.org'. He likes to be contacted.
(All press inquiries, however, ought be directed towards the author's agent, Alistair Hoel, via email to email@example.com.)