Film Reviews

RELIGULOUS

By • Nov 1st, 2008 •

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Maher ridicules all religions except the 3rd largest, Hinduism, and the 4th largest, Buddhism. Maher should praise Buddha for inventing a religion without a God. And he ends by preaching.

RELIGULOUS, as in “ridiculous”. I get it but who will be able to pronounce it? Maher ridicules all religions except the third largest, Hinduism, with 900 million followers (that’s 13% of the world’s population), and the fourth, Buddhism, with 376 million followers. Spiritism (I’ve attended ceremonies in Brazil) has 15 million and Judaism has 14 million. So how come Maher ignores Hinduism and Buddhism? Maher should praise Buddha for inventing a religion without a God. Maher ends with a stern preaching on the evils of religion!

Christianity claims 2.1 billion followers and Islam has 1.5 billion followers. Maher also leaves Kabbalah and Voodoo alone, but picks on Scientology with its measly 500,000 followers (are those numbers inflated?). Somehow, Maher traveled the world and found no one smart enough to explain to him why religion is important and why it serves the needs of people.

Religion has a long, long history, but the only reason Maher can come up with is that people are idiots.

Maher takes the BORAT route by finding truck drivers and serpent-handlers to interview. He especially loves to ridicule Christianity for praying to a phony god and drinking his blood.

Yes, I understand this is a comedy and not a documentary on the value of religion. But you would think there would be someone able to spar with Maher on his level of intelligence. I did find the Catholic “priest” Maher interviewed at St. Peter’s really funny.

Bill, you found your Azamat Bagatov!

Maher confuses a few major points. Mainly, the jealous, vengeful God of the Old Testament is not the God of the New Testament. He also continuously mocks Christianity with laughter over the Virgin Birth of Jesus. He loves the blood drinking of Christianity. What about that phony crucifixion? Wasn’t that a setup? The Resurrection? Everybody was hoodwinked! It was all made up because the people were ignorant and didn’t remember a thing about Jesus after he was crucified. Hey, lots of people were crucified by the Romans. It was their sport of choice. It’s been decades since JFK died, and people are still bragging about things he said and did – that they remember firsthand. Phonies, all of them!

As a comedian, Maher must know that people can memorize an hour’s worth of material; Shakespearean actors memorize a hell of a lot of words. Yet Maher is certain that nothing in the Gospels could possibly be direct knowledge handed down from generation to generation. We only allow Native American Indians to have a concrete oral tradition.

Maher does offend, insult, and humiliate everyone who comes in contact with him. I would love to see the outtakes! If only Maher had found someone to mock his atheism. Wasn’t anyone Maher met able to come up with something funny to say to someone who has no religion?

If you don’t know anything about other religions, Maher hits all the nasty bits that plague each religion. He goes after the Mormons even though they are not even ranked! (Mormons have 12 million followers worldwide.) The Catholics never fight back even though they are constantly under attack. But the peaceful Mormons are going to be furious. Yes, Maher certainly takes jabs at Islam, but keeps his mouth shut on the Prophet Mohammed and his wives.

There is enough fun stuff, movie clips, and cartoons to keep the laughs rolling along at times. Following the BORAT template, Maher finds a senator to humiliate. It seems that none of the interviewees, including Senator Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), were told about the focus, agenda, or angle the film would take.

Even comedians want to be movie stars. Maher isn’t satisfied with his HBO show, but he certainly could not go the Jerry Seinfeld route and do voice work in animation movies and commercials. The problem is Maher is not likeable. He’s got an arrogance and spiteful demeanor that comes through. Being a social commentator is the only way to go for him. But he’s not happy. He wants to be on theater screens.

I like Bill Maher, but he should stay out of movies.

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