© Central Film Verleih GmbH

U.S.A. 2008

Opening 2 Apr 2009

Directed by: Larry Charles
Writing credits: Bill Maher

American comedian Bill Maher takes a leap of faith to tackle religion. Why do humans need religion? What do we believe? What are these stories about? Can we really believe them as well as the religious speakers? In true Borat style, director Larry Charles prays for guidance in the field of facts and questions. He leads us to historical places and confronts religious leaders and congregations, always asking why, how and can that be The Truth? Like his previous film, Charles features outrageous interviews and hysterical scenes, but this attack on religion lacks the full picture. Although the Bill Maher family is part Catholic and part Jewish, he shows only the craziness of the Catholic Church with little to add about Judaism. He tries to touch on Islam, claims he doesn’t know much about it and then relegates it to a “political problem.” He shows people who believe that they are the new messiahs, the second coming of Christ. There is an amusement park in Florida dedicated to the story of Jesus. This film has a lot to offer in the way of questions, but leaves the search for answers to the viewer. According to Maher, it is luxury to be without religious faith, an option open only to a select few. This film has its high and lows and most likely will cause some lawsuits due to the subject matter. It certainly is not over the top like Borat. It gives you food for thought but definitely no ticket to heaven. (Shelly Schoeneshoefer)

Second Opinion

Bill Maher (Politically Uncorrect and Real Time with Bill Maher) travels the world exploring religions and, more importantly, the mortals behind these structures. “Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking…” This thought-provoking documentary positions (arrogant) certainty beside doubt. Comedian Maher’s candor and wit, under Larry Charles’ direction and incorporated clips from old films and biblical quotes, keep humor and skepticism flowing in this investigation (or duplicity) of organized religions. (Marinell Haegelin)

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