Winter 2009 Documentary series
Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 7:00pm
Directed by Larry Charles
Screenplay by Bill Maher
Starring Bill Maher, Kathy Maher, Julie Maher, Mark Pryor, Andrew Newberg, Ray Suarez, Francis Collins, Brian Weiss, Aki Nawaz
Rated NR ·
English, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian and Spanish
Bill Maher travels to Israel, England, the Netherlands, Vatican City, and across America, speaking to people about faith and religion in the very funny documentary Religulous. Maher, a stand-up comedian who has hosted the talk shows Politically Incorrect and Real Time, reaches out to religious leaders as well as regular folk on the street, discussing the existence of God and the importance of organized religion. Maher makes it clear from the start that he is not a fan of religion and does not believe in God, and he has fun skewering people who do–including Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Mormons, rabbis, priests, politicians, scientists, evangelical ministers, and even a preacher whose church is a converted truck. He also visits such places as the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida, where he interviews the actor who plays Jesus in a live show there, and the Red Light District in Amsterdam, notorious for its legalized drugs and prostitution.
As he has done on his television programs and in his books, Maher questions literal interpretations of the Bible, seeing it more as a collection of fairy tales. Director Larry Charles intersperses clips from Hollywood films about religion to punctuate Maher’s points, often to hilarious effect. The soundtrack is also used effectively, including such songs as the Doobie Brothers’ “Jesus Is Just Alright,” Ben Folds’s “Jesusland,” and Billy Bragg and Wilco’s “Christ for President.” Like such Michael Moore documentaries as Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine, Maher’s Religulous uses humor–and lots of cynicism and sarcasm–to examine controversial theories and topics that people feel very strongly about, no matter what side of the fence they are on. In addition to making audiences laugh, Religulous will make them think.