So your girlfriend is about to give birth to your first child. What do you do?
Well, if you're "Super Size Me" director Morgan Spurlock, you use this momentous occasion to go to the Middle East and make a movie called "Where in the World Is Osama bin Laden?"
Before you say this is the most astounding case of a man ducking out on his parental responsibilities you've ever heard (and it kinda is), Spurlock lets us know, over and over, that he is tracking down the most wanted man on the planet for the good of his unborn seed. How could he let his firstborn enter this world with all the evils that are rampant out there?
So Spurlock, being the one-man, Fu Manchu mustache-wearing strike force he is, decides to take action by traveling to Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan in hopes of hunting down the man our own government still can't locate.
I've told you his plan. Now let me tell you how horribly he executes it.
For starters, as the viewer, you can't help but treat the idea as trivially and condescendingly as Spurlock probably does. I mean, if he did find bin Laden, we probably would have heard by now. It's supposed to be a documentary, and yet at least a dozen people are credited with coming up with -- the script!
And what they come up with is a dullard's travelogue.
Spurlock stalks these countries, looking like he stepped off the pages of Vice Magazine (the man does resemble the magazine's former, equally snarky co-founder, Gavin McInnes), hitting up whoever he can for interview time while keeping the focus always on himself.
A perfect example of this is when he goes to a Saudi Arabia mall asking for Osama's whereabouts and wearing full Muslim garb. (It was barely funny when the superior Albert Brooks did it a couple of years back in "Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World." What made Spurlock think it would be funny if he pulled it off?)
You'll try to pay attention to what other people are saying, but you'll be too distracted by the manipulative visual chicanery and manufactured pathos Spurlock works into the proceedings:
- Watch him talk to people, who speak different languages, in his own native tongue without the help of a translator.
- Watch him wow you with a goofy cartoon about how America has been in bed with tyrannical dictators for generations. (Wasn't that called "Persepolis"?)
- Watch him explain, from the safety of his hotel room, that the people he met during his "Operation Special Delivery" are Just Like Him! (So lemme get this straight: Depeche Mode was right? People are people?)
It isn't until the end, where Spurlock makes an agonizingly dramatic "turning point decision" on whether to continue his mission or take his narrow behind back home and tend to his baby mama (take a flying leap on where he lands on that one), that the movie's fraudulence and Spurlock's cowardice truly, infuriatingly reveal themselves.
You know, say what you will about Michael Moore, but at least he would have had the style and panache to pull off this tall order, which Spurlock is nowhere near capable of finishing. Dude should just stick with trying to take down fast-food corporations.