Religulous Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ March 2, 2012
An entertaining documentary in which Maher approaches in eye-opening manner the undeniable danger represented by religion and the logical nonexistence of virtue in faith, although he also waters down the result a bit by mainly targeting the most stupid kind of people that he can find.
Super Reviewer
½ February 18, 2013
Bill Maher: It's like the lotto. "You can't get saved if you don't play."

"Heaven help us."

Religulous is an opinion film at its core. This is a movie where one man, Bill Maher goes around talking to religious cooks and church members, which allows him to try to refute all their beliefs and instead pass on his opinion of religion. For a lot of people this technique really wouldn't work for a documentary. If your opinion doesn't hold much weight then your film will fall because of that. This isn't the case with Bill Maher and Religulous. The reason: because Bill's opinion's are backed up with solid ideas to back them up. 

This isn't a movie that someone who is very religious should be seeing because you won't enjoy it and you know that going in. However, if you're an atheist, there will be a much greater chance you love this, because a lot of the same reasons you are an atheist are Bill's too. Then there are the people like me(Bill included in this group), that aren't religious at all and fail to ever become religious because there are way too many unanswered questions and absolutely no facts or proof. In the end, all these holy books seem to be are stories and most of the early religions stories are pretty damn similar. 

This really is a movie that I enjoyed more than my score of it indicates. I'm giving it a good, but not great rating, because it fails to become anything more than just an opinion film. If I were to rate this on how entertained I was and how much I enjoyed it, I would be able to give it a much higher rating. As far as a recommendation would go, I would give it a mild one. This isn't a film I'd recommend to my grandma or father, but to friends who do think alike, I would. In the end though, it should be pretty easy to decide if this is a film for you. Are you religious? If yes, pass on it. If no, give it a look. 
Super Reviewer
½ November 15, 2008
Comedian Bill Maher takes his smirking cynicism of religious dogma on the road and talks to various crackpots in this documentary exploring belief. Maher is taking up the standard of the likes of Bill Hicks as he mocks his way through the various modern faiths both great and small. Religulous is clearly meant more as comedy than documentary as his smirking, mocking tone when he interviews his victims is hardly the most objective starting point to a serious argument, but one could also argue that if any of these people had a logical leg to stand on they would be able to defend their beliefs from such impudent sarcasm. But they can't. Instead we see a bunch of "leaders" who do little more than continuously state and restate their outlandish tenets or merely figuratively stick their fingers in their ears and shout "I'M NOT LISTENING I'M NOT LISTENING" as they each blatantly contradict each other and claim that theirs is the TRUE word of god. It's actually all very funny stuff to a confirmed atheist but I'm sure it will antagonise "true believers" everywhere and as such is clearly just preaching to the converted. But this convert though it was hilarious!
Super Reviewer
June 6, 2012
Although thought/ conversation provoking, the documentary removes almost all of its interest, value and authority through its smug, cynical interviews of hand picked idiots and fanatics, snidely (and quickly predictably) cut together to maximise point and laugh value... and Maher's ego. In short- not doing at all enough justice to an always fascinating and controversial topic.
Super Reviewer
½ May 4, 2012
Comedian Bill Maher takes a close look at religion in this very funny, but thought provoking documentary. Religion is a subject that is very controversial, and eye opening. I am a big fan of Bill Maher, thus I had to check out this film. The result is a flawed, but nonetheless entertaining documentary. The film uses comedy with fact, and it's pretty impressive. There are things that could have been improved, but for the most part, Maher gets the point across. Religulous is a good flick to watch, one that should be seen by people who have doubts about their own beliefs. Although not the definitive documentary on religion, Religulous is still a must see. The debate of religion has been going on for many years; this film may help you make a decision on your own faith. No matter your religious convictions, Religuous is a funny film from start to finish. If you're a Bill Maher fan, then give this film a viewing. This film generates effective laughs, but also demands you ask yourself important questions. This is a great film, one that brings debate to an old idea that quite frankly needs to be addressed. I very much enjoyed the film, thought it was entertaining and fun, even if it's flawed, the documentary does manage to get the point across. Bill Maher brings the questions and supplies the laughs; even if you believe in religion, this is worth watching.
Super Reviewer
½ July 23, 2010
Bill Maher has never been a subtle man, and as a self proclaimed atheist, and a mean spirited one at that, Maher creates an enclosing grid around himself and his subjects. The documentary itself covers most religions, and most aspects of them, including a religious resort, a trucker chapel, and he even travels around the globe to view religion in Amsterdam, Jerusalem, Vatican City, and the high rising Mormon temple in Salt Lake City. I don't want to say the interviews were biased, because he seemingly conducted himself with some ardent respect for many subjects who were willing to have a sense of humor, but at times he asked questions that only served to hurt them. Still, the interviews, I believed, were solid. What makes this a Bill Maher circus tent kind of film is the editing. He makes the conservatives and rabble rousers look like morons, and then, on top of everything, edits in things from films and television, and all sorts of mediums as a kind of comic relief. I didn't find anything truly funny about that blatant ploy to get big laughs from hard nosed atheists. The people and circumstances and ridiculousness of some beliefs were what should have made this a superior film. Besides that I don't think Maher truly covered the reach of religion throughout politics, which is what he mostly covers on his show Real Time with Bill Maher. He travels around, making everyone look mean with his biased editing, and smarmy smile, but with a point. That having been said, at length, I still enjoyed the film and felt I was educated throughout by the different point of views of the people and the doubts Maher raises in kind. He gets his point across while still retaining some respect for people, but in the end he calls for a repeal of religion, and becomes a serious advocate for sensationalism. Though there could have been a lot more down with the message and less use of interviews to drive home the point that people can be nuts, it was still a film I recommend.
Super Reviewer
½ July 13, 2008
Hmm. I was hoping this movie would be better than this. It's more mean-spirited than it is insightful, more smirkingly ironic than genuinely explorative, and tries too hard to be funny at the expense of the faithful to actually change anyone's mind. I'm actually something of an atheism activist myself, so it annoys me to see Bill Maher try to make his point by very visibly mocking and attacking the stupid ideas of religious people. It's hard to know who this movie is directed at: non-believers already know how ridiculous religious ideas can be so none of this will be news, and believers don't recognize the stupidity of their familiar and dearly held beliefs, and will avoid this movie altogether. I didn't find his "get a load of these idiots" approach very funny or enlightening, and he is very quick to dismiss the amusing crackpots he's put so much effort into interviewing. In fact, in every one of his interviews, we heard more of Maher than we do of the person he's talking to. This could just as easily have been one of his standup specials with different backdrop paintings. This movie was such a waste of its resources. A whole lot of nothing. It's funny though, because there is a point where the editor realizes this, and tries to cram in some sort of meaning at the last second. Nice try, dude.
Super Reviewer
January 16, 2012
Religulous is more comedy than documentary, it's almost as much of a documentary as Borat was but without the fake characters (excluding the guy who thinks he's Jesus). Anyway, I'm an Atheist, so guess what - I thought it was funny. Bill Maher, a comedian I wasn't familiar with, was preaching to the converted as far as I was concerned. Did he pray on easy targets? I suppose he did in a way, the people he interviewed were pretty much all ignorant and weren't even sure of the teachings, history or scriptures of the religions they were following. However, these weren't people minding their own business, these were people either making a living from religion or standing on soap boxes preaching about their religion making them more than fair game. Bill Maher doesn't respect other peoples beliefs! No, and why should he - I'm with him on that one. He asked good questions, intelligent questions but all the answers where ridiculous. Like him, I can no more respect an adult that believes in Santa than an adult who believes in God, virgin birth, taking snakes etc etc. To be fair, for all the anti -Christianisums going on here, it's the two interviewed priests that came off best with no joking around just intelligent and interesting conversation. It's actually the US senator that comes off worst and you can't say he was an easy target (or maybe you can). He has also been criticised for concentrating mainly on Christians but like he says in the film, it's pretty hard to infiltrate certain religions - especially when he looks so Jewish and certain religions are antisemitic. He still gives it a good go and the three big religions get a look in. Larry Charles is a clever guy too, a sneaky guy but someone who has mastered the art of satire quite well. The editing of the film is hilarious, I laughed throughout. Richard Dawkins represents us on an intellectual level but he's just not very funny, he also gets (understandably) worked up when actually giving the other side a little more than they deserve. Bill Maher on the other-hand says, you know what, you've been shoving this crap down our throats for long enough, religion should not be used by the higher power for control and in order for us to evolve as a race we need to grow up and stop looking for fairies. Everyone is fair game, we've heard your opinions again and again, now it's our turn. Now he could have done this the nice way or the nasty way and I can't say I saw anything nasty here. If you're offended, chances are you're religious. Didn't like it? Well now you know how we feel.
Super Reviewer
December 28, 2009
those with a taste for irreverent humor and clear-eyed analysis will find it funny, enlightening and disturbing.

That is what I always think when I watch Maher Crazy stuff. Each to their own though. Such sort of Documentries should be watched with Humor. I mean you should leave back all your "all days" stuff and just lean back to have a tiny bit of fun and....perhaps learn something?
Super Reviewer
December 6, 2010
This movie is about the radicals. For those who marked it down for not having a serious look at religion, missed the point of the documentary. It pokes fun at the most dangerous, those who dont know what their religious books say, and blindly follow others. Its informative and funny. If the religious followed what their books said, we wouldn't have all the religious conflict we have now. Although I enjoyed it, I did think it got too preachy towards the end, and far too doomsday. But overall entertaining film!
Super Reviewer
May 16, 2009
Gutsy, intriguing and flat-out hilarious! It's so refreshing to see a documentary, from the perspective of someone who has the same general view on religion as I do. Bill Maher here asks the questions that many of us are thinking, but don't always have the guts to say openly or speak out loud. Now, don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the deeply religious (well, except of course for all the extremists and nutcases who try to force their beliefs upon others, but you know what I mean). What people worship and believe is their own business, and they have every right to. What I don't like is what religion is doing to the world, and the way it creates conflicts and separates people into various camps. And the fact that this documentary wasn't even nominated at the Oscars, speaks volumes of just how controversial it is. I'm sure it's going to anger and upset a lot of people out there, but for those of us who are open-minded, and dare to confront and question established dogmas, this film is truly a breath of fresh air. Personally, I loved it!

"I certainly, honestly believe religion is detrimental to the progress of humanity. You know, it's just selling an invisible product, it's too easy." -Bill Maher
Super Reviewer
March 1, 2009
Bill Maher asks the questions that you've always wanted to know about certain religions. What is brilliant is that you will probably never see a documentary like this because so many are afraid to go and discuss this. I love his honesty and bluntness about what he believes in which at times, leaves some of the people he interviews a little lost for words. Probably best avoid if you're incredibly religious! If not then I HIGHLY recommend this!
Super Reviewer
½ May 15, 2010
One issue one could have with Religulous is that it doesn't seem reasonable to believe that the religious literalists who are the targets of the film will see it, realize the futility and archaic silliness of their beliefs and change. But, really, if you consider the way Bill Maher speaks to his interviewees, the way he comments as director Larry Charles interviews him during the film's road trip, and Maher's overall embitterment towards religion evidenced clearly in his stand-up act and on his show Real Time With Bill Maher, you will see that this film is not made to change minds but to reassure those who already understand that lack of necessity and the danger of futility and bigotry in religion that they are not alone and that there are hit movies like this that defend the viewpoints they are reticent to voice themselves.

At a recent book signing at Joseph-Beth Booksellers here in Cincinnati, I spoke with screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, who recently found Christianity through his dilemma with throat cancer. (Yes, that Joe Eszterhas.) He claims to find it nearly impossible to sell his new script about St. Paul to Hollywood, professing that it's because there is a bias against Christianity in the studio system. Maher feels otherwise. His admitted intention behind making this comic documentary is because religious epics that have poured out of Hollywood since the dawn of cinema have endeared audiences to religions that, especially in their organized forms, preach and imply startling aversions to scientific and historical facts, take advantage of certain texts as means of racism, sexism and homophobia and other such things.

I am just now getting around to writing about Religulous, which I saw weeks before the Joe Eszterhas book signing, but I can't help but wonder about the differing viewpoints of a hilarious, righteously cynical Libertarian with whom I consistently agree and one of the highest-paid screenwriters who has worked for nearly half a century in the very system that he claims to oppose his newfound beliefs. Really, the truly surprising breadth of this film's release and commercial success (though I do know a few people in St. Louis who, last time we spoke, claimed it had yet to show there) should affirm Eszterhas's viewpoint, but actually seeing Maher's film is a different story.

This admittedly and purposely biased documentary is about Bill Maher's view of religion. As I find that he usually is, he's very smart, shrewd and funny, and I found the film pleasurable, even if from time to time he's a little unkind to his interviewees, who come off as objects of ridicule. He goes to holy places in Italy, Israel, Great Britain, Florida, Missouri and Utah, and talks with fanatics of the religions he confronts there.

A good confirmation of what I said earlier about opponents of Maher's views not being affected at all by this film is that he interrupts, talks over, spots subtitles and inserts movie and TV clips. The film's preaching to the converted and alienating of the non-converted is not a misstep by Maher and director Charles, but rather the intention. We relish his misconduct. The people he interviews are shockingly patient and tolerant, even most, not all, of the truckers in a makeshift truck stop chapel. You are dreading the point where one assaults Maher, but nobody does, although one trucker balls a fist and says, "You got a problem." Later in the film, there is an interesting moment where Maher walks out on a rabbi who favorably attend a Holocaust denial conference in Iran.

Persistently, Maher's altercations regard logical inconsistencies of holy books. Did Jonah really live for three days in the belly of a whale? No, of course not! It was a large fish! There are people who believe it. Is the End of Days nigh? A rather decent U.S. senator thinks so. Will the Rapture arise in our lifetimes? Common accord. Mormons believe Missouri will be the place to be, to which Maher quips with impeccable timing, "Branson, I hope." Maher visits the Creation Museum, to which I've been, thus I can corroborate the diorama of human children playing at the feet of dinosaurs. He didn't even penetrate the surface of what I saw there.

His two most logical guests, ironically, are Vatican priests, who with pleasure write off large parts of widely perceived Catholic beliefs, including the existence of Hell. One of these priests dies laughing as he mentions various beliefs that I was taught at Nativity Elementary. The other remarks that Jesus is polled sixth person to which Italians pray in crisis. The Hispanic pastor who believes he is the second coming of Christ will be disappointed.

Maher also has ominous questions Muslims about whether or not the Koran orders the death of infidels, leading to a frightening climax where he ties organized religion to a premature nuclear apocalypse, leaving us with the feeling that religion must be overshadowed for us to survive.

Religion is harmful to progress. Faith is the benefit of not thinking. Doubt is respectful. The Republicans I know personally all hate Bill Maher. No surprise there, but my point is this: There is little to zero chance that they, who tend to believe what this film ridicules, will see this film, and every chance that those of us, like me, who already love him, will rush to see this because essentially, it turns out to be a rallying of secularists who should be more alarmed and more active than they are. Maher's persona and his approach to the material are totally in sync with the midpoint of your any given agnostic intellectual young person, like me for instance.
Super Reviewer
April 30, 2010
Hillarious and poignant documentary about the insanity of religious faith.
Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
November 7, 2009
When you sit down to watch a documentary whose title combines the words "religion" and "ridiculous", you should have a pretty good idea what you're going to be getting. Comedian talkshow host and self-proclaimed skeptic Bill Maher takes a look at some of the more ridiculous aspects of organized religions, and then asks the faithful why they believe what they believe (or why they believe in what, in any other context, would be considered crazy). It's Maher's semi-serious, mostly comical attempt at getting to the heart of fundamentalism, the kind of religious fervor that goes beyond typical religious faith. In this regard, I think he's succeeded in making the kind of documentary he intended to make (whether that lives up to others' expectations seems up for debate, as forums around the internet would indicate). Maher asks legitimate (though sometimes funnily worded) questions that anyone purporting to be of faith should be prepared to answer, or at least discuss, and yet some seem like they've never been questioned or even thought about why they believe what they believe in. Of course, Maher finds all religion equally ridiculous and is an equal opportunity offender. From what he sees as silly beliefs (mormons and their magic underwear, judeo/christians and their belief in talking snakes and getting swallowed by giant fish, scientology..), to more scary beliefs (Islam's "death to the infidels!" and "christians" who support the murder of abortionists), the whole gamut is covered. Although Maher uses the lunatic fringe as straight men for lots of jokes, I didn't find it necessarily mean-spirited. When the flock of the trucker chapel all gather around him to pray for his soul, his smirk disappears and he seems to feel a genuine gratitude for their concern. Bill Maher's general point in this documentary (right or wrong) is that those who have a safety net of religion can be more callous and carefree when it comes to the welfare of the world we live in (if you know there's a better place waiting, why worry about the environment, for example). Obviously, those who are easily offended by religious jokes should avoid this movie, as should those militant atheists who want to see the devout and dogmatic crucified (no pun intended), as Bill Maher doesn't really go for the jugular so much as the funny bone.
Super Reviewer
½ July 18, 2009
Dawkins-lite polemic against organised religions which points up the illogical irrationality of religion well enough. It has amusing moments and a barnstorming plea at the end but seemed more like a TV documentary production.
Super Reviewer
½ July 8, 2009
Great documentary!! Seeing someone pursue exposing religion as a culprit to rational thought about God was very refreshing!! Believing in God does not mean believing EVERYTHING in the Bible!
Super Reviewer
April 6, 2009
As I watch this I'm glad I'm not some insane zombie that draws inspiration from snuff films starring their "lord" made by anti semetic action stars of the 80's.
Super Reviewer
April 5, 2009
I liked it but I am one of the choir here. And that is this movie's biggest problem - I don't think this is movie for those other than the already converted. The "devout" will react as many of the interviewed subjects do - by getting angry and storming out or clamming up or simply ejecting Maher from the premises. How well will this work on the converted? I'm not sure as Maher can be quite an abrasive character even for those who agree with him. I personally like Maher's style of humor, so I found this movie enjoyable. The problem here is that the movie is very focused on his personal journey, which for once makes him less biased, but doesn't drive home his points like say "An Inconvenient Truth" propaganda did.

I would also add that the movie's biggest problem for me was that it wasn't longer. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least five other people I wish Maher would have tried to interview who would not have been too hard to get (mostly philosophers and scientists I've seen in other movies like What The Bleep do We Know).

Overall entertaining and frightening to be introduced to such characters as the mock-Jesus at the Holy Land Disneyland place and the guy who professes that he is the second coming of Christ and has an established and very large ministry. The grand highlight for me was the brilliant and witty Catholic priest who is a senior attache at the Vatican; he epitomized what religion needs to admit to and how to discuss these things.
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