Where to Invade Next. (pictured)
written and directed by Michael Moore
written and directed by Mina Shum
by Bill Chambers The narrative pretext for Michael Moore's globetrotting that lends Where to Invade Next its title is so low-concept, jokey, and finally immaterial as to be the documentary equivalent of the cable repairman arriving at the beginning of a porno. After a solid five minutes of trolling the Right with an inventory of recent conflicts that makes the United States look at once war-happy and, despite its exorbitant military spending, not very good at the whole war thing, Moore satirically sets off on a mission--shabby haircut, gummy smile, and Tigers cap (sometimes in camo green) intact--to find a good place for America's next big skirmish. What he's really doing is touring the world in search of proven ideologies his own tailspinning country would do well to adopt. In Italy and Germany, he discovers a happy, fruitful middle class in factories, of all places. In France, he encounters a gradeschool cafeteria where the chef opts for fruit-and-cheese platters over burgers and fries and the children regard Moore's can of Coke dubiously. In Slovenia, he can't find a single university student in debt until he happens on an American transplant who owes money back home. In Iceland, he becomes enamoured of an emergent matriarchy, which might be why he recedes as an on-camera presence: to curb the irony of his film mansplaining women in leadership to us.