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Religulous Review

Do You Really Believe Jonah Lived in A Whale?

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Religulous Review

Bill Maher and Holy Land Theme Park's "Jesus" in Religulous

Irreverent comedian Bill Maher travels around the world from the Wailing Wall to the Vatican to backwater America challenging religious pundits and just plain folk about their various religious beliefs.

Maher Mocks Religion

Ever the clever quipper, Bill Maher's documentary is a platform for his stand up challenge to religious dogma, ritual and Bible tales: "Do you really believe that Johah lived in a whale?," he asks a convinced Christian. He takes on the long-haired believer who plays Jesus Christ at a Christian theme park, a healer who claims to be the second coming of Christ, an avowed Christian who serves in the U.S. Senate, Islamic fundamentalists and hare Krishna devotees. Maher and crew are even expelled from the Salt Lake City headquarters compound of the Mormons.

Maher's wit is applied equally to all. If you applaud his distinctive brand of humor, you'll find this documentary hilarious. Maher's the film's central character--in much the same way Michael Moore is the protagonist in Sicko, for example--and he's very clear about his personal agenda. He wants to convince his audience that religion is not only ridiculous, it's downright dangerous. "Here we are at the birthplace of Christianity," he proclaims, just before a bomb explodes. With that sort of coincidental commentary, the film scores point after point, pushing you to question religious values and practice, and religion's effect on the family of man--and woman.

Maher's humor has broad appeal, but in Religulous, he's essentially preaching to the choir. If you're born again or are committed to a religious practice, you're likely to find this film offensive. In fact, Religulous is directed by Larry Charles, who helmed Borat, the famously offensive fiction feature that stormed into theaters in 2006.

Religulous storms into theaters on October 1, 2008. Although shots of the Holy Land and Rome undoubtedly look better on the big screen, and it's always great to have a sense of community in shared laughter, it isn't essential to see Religulous in a movie theater. If it isn't playing at a cinema near you, it will play quite well on DVD--when the DVD becomes available.

Film Details:

  • Release date: October 1 in limited theaters, with wider release on October 3, 2008
  • Running time: 101 mins.
  • MPAA Rating: R for some language and sexual material.
  • Parents Guide: Content advisory for parents.
  • Country: USA
  • Languages: English, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Spanish
  • Distributor: Lionsgate
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