Eye-opening but ultimately scattershot. It plays like "America Is Screwed Up," the cliff's notes version. Moore is fairly prevalent unfortunately and I realize his humor usually comes from subverting expectation or including an amusing image after something shocking, but it doesn't always land. Nor does his need to have the final word. Towards the end, an Icelandic woman delivers a profoundly sincere speech and instead of cutting to black, the camera zooms out as we hear Michael Moore say "Well it upsets me." No shit? Really? Isn't that why you're making this movie in the first place? Why undercut a powerful moment with your own commentary, and I'm pretty sure it happens often. His constant injecting of "Whaaaaaaat?!" moments when people from other countries tell him about the way things are run in their country get a bit old. The true highlight comes from a really subdued, reflective moment involving mass genocide. But of course there's a raised score. Speaking of which, why did Moore choose to play a score snippet from DANCER IN THE DARK during the faces montage?
But many flaws and quibbles aside, once again, much like SICKO and BOWLING, I am 100% on board with this as an educational tool and absurdist entertainment at times (really America? we've sunk this low and continue to sink?). Its message is vital and should be seen so further insights and education can occur. If this film could have an Errol Morris-like impact on tuition cost, then I'm all for it. But again, it's all over the map. Will it cause people to really take action? You would think that the audience I saw this with is ready with the amount of applause and numerous gasps of shock at stats & facts throughout.
I wouldn't mind a darker, serious take on this without Moore interjecting with American flags, and more introspective sections like the one in Germany. As an emotional experience, it certainly made me angry, sad and conflicted. As a documentary film, it's still just mediocre at best. I'm on the guy's side in getting these messages out there, but this felt a bit rushed and needed a stronger focus despite good intentions and a courageous thesis surrounding human dignity. C