Where in the World Is Osama bin Laden? (2008)

Rated: PG-13 for some strong language.
Length: 93 minutes
Grade: CCCC=C
Budget: A few tens of thousands of dollars, probably.
Box Office: $0.6 million (0.4 U.S., 0.2 Intl.)

Written and Directed by: Morgan Spurlock, whose previous documentary “Super-Size Me” was very interesting.
Starring: Morgan Spurlock, his pregnant wife, and a bunch of Middle Easterners

On the brink of being first-time father, Spurlock heads off to the Middle East to meet as many people as possible under the pretense of hunting for Osama bin Laden.

Entertainment Value: C
Eh. It wasn’t really funny. It wasn’t really deep. It was a weird hybrid of cartoon satire, left-of-center cynical political history, and real life conversations with people. I’m glad we watched it, but it turns out to be a lot less of anything than I had hoped.

Superficial Content: C
Drugs/Alcohol A, Sexuality A, Violence B, Language C, Illegality NA
There is enough language to justify the PG-13 rating, although, oddly, it’s only comprised of about five words throughout the movie. Also, there is some discussion of terrorism (obviously) and repressive governments using torture. PG-13 is right, although it surely could have been made PG with a little more discretion.
Significant Content: C
We’re all people, and there are more of us normal ones than there are of psychotic ones like Osama bin Laden. It’s not acceptable to protect our freedoms by sacrificing the freedoms of people in other countries. The United States has done stupid and evil things in the fight against communism. Osama bin Laden is just one man. Most of the world is pretty reasonable, except for Saudi Arabia and Hasidic Jews, of course. Palestine will eventually be a recognized state.

Artistic/Thought Value: C
Why was the pregnancy included in this movie? I still don’t understand. I also don’t understand the use of the Osama video game, which was dropped in the last half of the movie. I guess he’s saying that Americans are so stupid about foreign affairs because it’s not as interesting as playing Halo 3?

Discussion Questions:
~What lessons do you draw from this movie? Consider some specific scenes and your reaction to them: the Saudi school boys, the Saudi women, the Hasidic Jews, and the Egyptian neighborhood bombers.
~Why does Spurlock keep referring to professional wrestling wherever he goes?
~What image of people around the world does this movie give you? Is it different from the one you draw from watching the news?
~This movie shows Muslims praying again and again, especially in public places. Why does public prostrated prayer seem so weird to us but normal to them? Would we be better off if people prayed in public this way more often?
Overall Grade: C
Eh. A little disappointing only because I expected better from him after Super-Size Me.

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