Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore has a new film out and, unsurprisingly, Where to Invade Next complains about how woeful the United States is in comparison to European, socialist-style countries. According to the Washington Post’s Stephanie Merry on Friday, “Moore's latest movie is funny and touching, and it has a lot to say about what we settle for as Americans citizens, and how much better our lives might be if we raised some hell.”
The film sees Moore “invading” countries such as Norway, Italy and Germany to find out whey they are so superior to America.
To make this point, Moore employs a gimmick, facetiously vowing to invade a bunch of countries and loot their great ideas to bring to the United States. The shtick doesn’t entirely hold up, even if Moore, outfitted in an Army-green jacket and camouflage baseball cap, insists on “planting” an American flag on the floor of the Portuguese health minister’s office.
Moore’s goal is not to put down the United States. Rather, he comes across as patriotic, in his unique style, explaining that none of these countries were always like this, but that they’ve made innovative changes, and now they’re better off. Why can’t we do the same thing?
Over at the New York Times, reviewer Stephen Holden appeared depressed at how lacking America is:
Michael Moore’s latest documentary, “Where to Invade Next,” is a sprawling, didactic polemic wittily disguised as a European travelogue. Watching it made me feel like a deprived child with my nose pressed against the glass of a magical toy store in a faraway land. On one side is a happy, harmonious land of productive people. On the other is a world of misery, anxiety, war and greed.
As Mr. Moore “invades” one country and then the next, beginning in Italy and ending in Iceland, you begin to suspect that heaven on earth is anywhere but in America — unless, of course, you belong to the top 1 percent.
At Rolling Stone, Peter Travers raved that the documentary is a “blast” and “classic Moore.” He hailed:
Michael Moore has a blast showing us how we're screwing up things that once made this country great
In Italy, he meets a couple who get 30 days paid vacation each year with no loss in productivity. Their bosses encourage two-hour lunches at home, where families can connect. In France, Moore is astonished by school kids who are served nutritional food, including several kinds of cheeses (Camembert, mais oui!), and are horrified by the slop washed down with sugary soft drinks in America. They drink water. In Slovenia, college is free – even for foreigners – and students go on strike if anyone even thinks about charging tuition. (Take that, American students who start life burdened with staggering college loans.) In Finland, students attend school for shorter hours, are rarely given homework and still rank among the best in the world.
It's classic Moore.
The Associated Press’s Jocelyn Noveck explained away Moore’s "exaggerations" and spin:
Of course Michael Moore exaggerates. Of course he engages in cheerful, unabashed cherry-picking. Of course he sees black and white where most of us see shades of gray.
That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s wrong.
It seems as though there’s nothing major media outlets love more than a movie bashing America's liberal failings.