Rating: 3.5 stars
Several weeks ago, Bill Maher had his favorite sparring partner, conservative political pundit Andrew Sullivan, on his HBO show, Real Time With Bill Maher. Sullivan was exasperated with what he perceived to be Maher’s complete intolerance of religion. It’s true, when Maher, an avowed agnostic, discusses religious people, he tends to be both derisive and dismissive. Not an ideal guy, then, to do a probing and comedic documentary on faith and religious devotion, right?
Actually, he’s just the guy. For starters, Maher is drawn to the very subjects our society deems taboo—and there’s no subject more tiptoed around than religion. Also, he’s smart as a whip and naturally inquisitive. As he goes around in his documentary, interviewing various evangelicals and Passion Play participants and Muslim clerics, he wants to simply see what they see. A born skeptic, he keeps challenging people’s assumptions, their leaps of logic, the very foundations of their faith. To his credit, he never comes across as rude, just intellectually curious (and a bit befuddled).