Film

'Where to Invade Next': Michael Moore's New Movie Points the Way to Solutions

The gag in 'Where to Invade Next' is that Michael Moore is tasked by the Pentagon to fix America by finding out what other developed nations do best

Organization has never been Michael Moore’s strong suit. Rarely one for building a slow and steady argument via a lattice of damning and interlocking factual revelations, he more often goes for the shotgun approach: let it fly and hope something sticks. The serio-comic conceit behind Where to Invade Next -- opening in select theaters February 12 -- wouldn’t seem to augur well. The title makes you think Moore is taking on American military adventurism. The gag is that Moore is tasked by the Pentagon to fix America by finding out what other developed nations do best. Moore says that this means, “I will invade countries inhabited by Caucasians,” steal their best ideas and bring them home. In practice, that means Moore goes from one European country to the next, asking variations of “Why are you so awesome?”, planting an American flag, and announcing that he is stealing this concept for America while Europeans look on with bemused half grins. Time after time, the film is just starting to get into something interesting, like Norway’s shockingly gentle prison system or France's appealing workers' vacations, when Moore intervenes like an insecure talk show host to toss a gag grenade. If he could just have more confidence in his material and audience, movies like Where to Invade Next might have the impact that their hair-raising subject matter deserves.

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