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Religulous

Year: 2008
Production Co: Thousand Words
Director: Larry Charles
Producer: Bill Maher
Writer: Bill Maher
Cast: Bill Maher

Bill Maher clearly has an issue with organised religion. If you're in any doubt after the content of this film, he'll make it quite plain during his closing statements (we need to grow up or we'll all die, et al) that this is no impartial investigation, it's entirely his subjective viewpoint.

In order to make that point, he travels the world to find the most ridiculous manifestations of religious belief he possibly can, from a South American TV evangelist convinced he's the second coming of the Messiah to a Biblical, Disneyland-style theme park complete with a professional performing Jesus.

Maher gets chased away from a Salt Lake city holy site by Mormon bouncers, listens while a US politician puts his foot squarely in it by admitting that low intelligence is no barrier to entry into congress and communes with a self-appointed holy dude in the Netherlands who gets high for God.

The last sixty seconds are a bold and direct statement of Maher's claims, standpoints many people think but not many people say out loud in today's world. But everything that comes before it is the cherry picking of evidence to suit his argument. Even the supertext that normally imparts objective facts often serves no purpose but to poke more merciless fun at the people he's talking without them knowing.

Does that sound like a complaint about the movie? It's not, because here's the other thing - it's absolutely hilarious. Whether it's stupid people making themselves look even dumber, clever editing or a combination of the two, Maher puts on a spectacularly funny show. Much of it will make you laugh out loud, from the seemingly-spontaneous gags he comes up with off the cuff during the many interviews to the at-times extremism of the believers themselves.

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