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Bowling For Columbine

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Bowling For Columbine

Starring: Michael Moore, George W. Bush
Director: Michael Moore
Rated: NR
RunTime: 120 Minutes
Release Date: October 2002
Genres: Action, Comedy, Documentary

*Also starring: Dick Clark, Charlton Heston, Marilyn Manson, John Nichols, Matt Stone, Chris Rock

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE, by director Michael Moore (ROGER & ME), is frequently extremely funny, sometimes quite intriguing and other times infuriatingly naive. In case you can't guess from the title, the documentary is a long look at Americans and their love of guns. Among the old film clips it shows are some toy gun commercials from the 1950s that are quite humorous. (For the record, I'm not an NRA member, and I have never owned a gun.)

The film is at its best when Moore takes his standup comic routine to interview people in his disarmingly friendly fashion. Moore is never happier than when he's thrown out of a building and isn't able to meet with the guy in charge. This time Moore is shocked at how many people, including NRA President Charlton Heston, will actually talk to him. Another time he practices his activist documentary technique by opening doors on random houses in Canada to see if Canadians really do leave their doors unlocked. They do.

Moore goes off the deep end and his movie gets bogged down when he veers off into U.S. foreign policy, which he blames in some way for just about everything that has gone wrong in the world. A particularly cheap shot has him ridiculing President Bush for having setup a system of designated threat levels after 9-11. Moore even tries to equate our bombing in Kosovo to the massacre at Columbine High School. His long last section attempts to make many sensationalistic links between guns and racism and between the NRA and the KKK.

Moore does have a solution for all of the problems he investigates, and its probably not one that you would have thought of. His fundamental belief is that, if we had more welfare, without any work requirements, and had socialized medicine, we'd be racially tolerant and non-violent, just like the happy Canadians to our north. You have to give Moore this. Not only is he funny. He also isn't shy about voicing his opinions. He's a big lovable guy who is fun to laugh at and to agree with or disagree with. I can't wait for his next picture. I just hope next time he spends a little bit more time in the editing room trimming the fat.

BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE runs way too long at 2:00. It is rated R for "some violent images and language" and would be acceptable for teenagers.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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