- Running time:
- 90 minutes
- Rob VanAlkemade
- Official Movie Web Site:
- Overall User Rating:
- (0 ratings)
Big question: Can a movie focused on consumer gluttony stir up as much interest as producer Morgan Spurlock’s gluttony-of-another-kind doc, “Super Size Me”?
Skip it: “What Would Jesus Buy?” begins with a solid premise—America’s consumer culture is out of control—and then repeats it for 90 minutes without nuance, debate, insight or even a persuasive reason. Maddeningly vague “facts”—“children average 40 hours of media exposure per week and only 40 minutes of meaningful conversations with parents”—are gravely intoned but we never know what motivates Reverend Billy’s quest, or how he defines success.
Catch it: There’s some evidence of a more penetrating documentary hidden beneath the film’s shallow surface, including a few revealing moments of self-doubt from the Choir. The impassioned frustration in an eleventh hour confession from Reverend Billy’s wife—“I need for what we do to have some impact on someone, soon”—is refreshingly honest.
Bottom line: With a provocative title clearly designed to get viewers’ attention, it’s disappointing that “What Would Jesus Buy?” doesn’t actually have much to say. Just like a picky customer, the movie samples themes like the climate crisis, the decline of mom-and-pop shops and Jesus’ message of compassion for the poor, but ultimately never commits.
Bonus: Mickey Mouse has caught a lot of flack over the years but Reverend Billy’s conviction that the cartoon rodent is the “Antichrist” seems a bit much.