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Religulous

World religions get poked and laughed at in this film essay

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Fans of comedian and talk-show host Bill Maher are familiar with his rants and riffs on religion. This film essay from Larry Charles (Borat) is simply an extended comic bit -- with stock footage and guest stars -- designed to bolster Maher's belief that religion is weird, hypocritical, potentially dangerous and certainly worth laughing at. Maher is relatively equal-opportunity, hitting almost all the major faiths (Hindus and Buddhists get a pass). He travels to sacred spots such as Vatican City, Jerusalem and The Holy Land Experience, in Orlando, and interviews true believers who cheerfully provide the gleefully acerbic Maher with set-up after set-up for punchlines. Maher picks a lot of low-hanging fruit and unearths some real oddballs. At best, Religulous is only mildly provocative, and Maher feels no obligation to present any reasonable defense from the other side, or even question why religion is so pervasive. Sympathizers with Maher will laugh; the faithful are apt to be offended, though there's some chance you'll find another religion besides your own bizarre and worth mocking. That's the weird thing about religion. (Al Hoff)

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