In the six years since his commercially unsuccessful, turgid magazine-style film, “Capitalism: A Love Story,” Michael Moore hasn’t gotten soft so much as giddily optimistic, couching his hope for the United States as a society in what can be drawn from other cultures. But fluffy Mike is not as effective as bristling Mike, and “Where To Invade Next,” his well-meaning comedy of straw men and false equivalencies stays on the surface, a likable, intermittently annoying personality-driven essay that lacks the pinch and punch of his earlier work. The range of stunts, including waving an oversized U.S. flag while surveying the economic safety nets in other countries like France, Norway, Italy, rely too heavily on being charmed by his cuddly-bully persona. Nothing wrong with the politics or the examples, just a consistently annoying tone. The faux-naif of “Roger & Me” and the strident, fearless prosecutor of “Fahrenheit 9/11” is missed. Moore, indeed, is less. 119m. (Ray Pride)
“Where To Invade Next” opens Friday, February 12 at Landmark Century and other theaters.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published later this year.