Directed by Larry Charles
Comic-turned-pundit Bill Maher talks to the world’s most faithful.
Religulous “succeeds in being almost as funny as it is offensive,” said Joe Morgenstern in The Wall Street Journal. In this “provocation, thinly disguised as a documentary,” Bill Maher sets off on a pilgrimage that includes stops at Megiddo, Israel, and a Holy Land theme park in Orlando. The militant agnostic’s encounter with the world’s most devout is primarily played for laughs. But Maher often ventures into “serious cultural-political territory,” said Robert Koehler in Variety. The humorist cites George Carlin as an influence, and his “intensity and seriousness” here are reminiscent of Carlin in his prime. Maher “never engages in Michael Moore–style gotcha tactics,” but instead asks questions that spark “brilliant, incendiary” conversation. Maher enjoys playing the role of “devil’s advocate,” said J. Hoberman in The Village Voice. But he picks on easy targets, such as evangelical charlatans, rather than talk to learned theologians. He also ignores Eastern religions. As a result, Religulous comes off as more of a “one-man stand-up attack on religious fundamentalism” than a thorough examination of faith.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why atheism doesn't have the upper hand over religion
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The world's dumbest idea: Taxing solar energy
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- Why would a young person today be religious?
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why I'm a pro-life liberal
- How Captain America won over China
- Attack of the invasive species
- Why we can't stop procrastinating, according to science
Subscribe to the Week