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Overdone optimism

OUT NOW! WHERE TO INVADE NEXT is not a bad documentary, but Moore's look at how other nations deal with their problems is simply too naïve.

The title of Moore’s first documentary in six years could lead you to believe the filmmaker is sinking his critical fangs into US foreign policy. Not so. Where To Invade Next shows him getting optimistic in his old age and offering a travelogue which sees the filmmaker ‘invading’ other countries and ‘stealing’ their ideas in order to put his own to shame. Through his cherry-picked pit stops through Europe, he is conveniently confronted with Italy’s happy workers, France’s gourmet school lunches and even Germany’s candid stance on the Holocaust. Moore’s grass-is-greener approach is initially refreshing, but over the film’s 110-minute runtime, it becomes cloyingly toothless. By his own admission, he “picks flowers, not the weeds”, an approach that will lead many to miss his engaging takedowns, and even to bemoan the cartoonish idealism on show. His lack of focus is also problematic: the broad scope makes Where To Invade Next a messy affair that not only panders to national stereotypes but is also severely lacking in nuance. Though often compelling and at times funny, Moore’s globe-trotting jolly is far too naïve to convince. It’s entertaining, but we’re a far cry from the potent Roger & Me or the damning Bowling for Columbine

Where To Invade Next | Michael Moore (USA 2015) documentary. Starts February 25