'Where to Invade Next' review: Funniest, least substantial Moore documentary yet
Michael Moore's latest documentary "Where To Invade Next" (screened as a 2015 AFI FEST Centerpiece Gala featured presentation on Nov. 7) is the filmmaker's most comprehensive, pro-American and rousing film to date -- yet it offers in terms of 'solutions' it lacks in depth.
In Short: Filmmaker Michael Moore "invades" nations around the globe to understand how they became global leaders in healthcare, education and political innovation and bring those ideas back to the U.S. (Watch the trailer)
The past couple few of Moore's films - "Sicko" and "Capitalism: A Love Story" - have been relatively grim compared to his earlier work. While his topics have never been super uplifting - be it school shootings or the war on terror - Moore's last few films lacked his signature humor that made the medicine go down easier. Thankfully "Where to Invade Next" is a return to a playful tone very similar to his underrated NBC TV series "TV Nation," making his latest film his most entertaining and fun film to date, without compromising his thesis that America could and should be better to its citizens.
This documentary is focused on finding solutions rather than investigating the root issues of social problems. This approach keeps "Where to Invade" positive overall - and effectively provides proven case studies of established programs abroad that provide free college tuition, healthier school lunches and a healthier work-life balance.
But in addressing so many topics, "Where to Invade" is only able to dip its toes into some topics that have a lot of depth. American policies and programs are painted in broad strokes as ineffective at best. While this may be true, a more substantial documentary would not resort to such generalizations.
While "Where to Invade" does present an unflattering portrait of the United States, this is arguably a very pro-America film. Moore clearly believes America can and should be better. It offers a proactive and hopeful approach that radical change is not only possible, it can be attained with simply the will to act.
Final verdict: "Where to Invade Next" may not be Moore's most thought provoking or substantial film to date, it is certainly his most entertaining and fun to watch.
"Where to Invade Next" is rated R. The latest Michael Moore documentary had its U.S. premiere at the 2015 AFI FEST and is scheduled to hit theaters in Dec. 23.