The celebrity documentarian has made a career out of playing a provincial oaf whose childlike questions cut to the heart of issues.

The persona has become so marketable that audiences often seem not to care that his approach to the facts is as sloppy as his dress.

From the beginning - his first film, Roger and Me manipulated the timeline of events for polemical advantage - he has perfected a ingratiating and self-serving style that has undermined the generally unexceptionable rightness of his causes: the epidemic of mass shootings, the fraying healthcare system and, most famously, the management of the "war on terror".

In his newest film, the ursine filmmaker does the lumbering innocent abroad more extravagantly than ever before, visiting eight countries to explore policies and ideas that he wants to see adopted in his homeland.

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In each place, he symbolically plants the US flag in offices, schools and clinics, claiming the country for the US. Hence the title: his cumbersome shtick is that he's engaged in a sort of philosophical neo-colonialism, plundering not resources, but ideas.

So we look at weird foreign customs such as school meals in France; generous annual leave in Italy; fee-free tertiary education in Slovenia; humane jails in Norway; worker representation on boards of German corporations.

All the while, Moore's saying things like: "Wait a minute: are you telling me that this is a jail but your cell door isn't locked?"

He's sloppy with the detail, confusing Slovakia and Slovenia; and he cherrypicks his data, ignoring Italy's ruinous GDP and Norway's oil wealth and high tax.

But he hits more targets than he misses in a film whose tone is a sort of rueful optimism. The saddest thing for viewers may be how much the film makes us pine for the days before everything in sight got reformed.

Review: Where To Invade Next Documentary



Director:

Michael Moore


Running time:

120 mins


Rating:

M (offensive language and nudity)


Verdict:

More hits than misses.