Metascore
56

Mixed or average reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 31
  2. Negative: 4 out of 31
  1. Though he claims to be a seeker, someone who "has to find out" why believers believe, Maher sets out not after answers but cheap laughs that preach, so to speak, to the converted.
  2. 30
    His scattershot and ad hominem attacks against many different forms of religious hypocrisy don't add up to a coherent critique, and he's not qualified to provide one.
  3. 33
    Maher's too smart to make a movie this dumb.
  4. Reviewed by: Neely Tucker
    30
    One of the rules of satire is that you can't mock things you don't understand, and Religulous starts developing fault lines when it becomes clear that Maher's view of religious faith is based on a sophomoric reading of the Scriptures and that he doesn't understand that some thoughtful people actually do believe in some sort of spiritual life.
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 160 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 64 out of 81
  2. Negative: 11 out of 81
  1. Oct 23, 2010
    10
    Since the only logical stance on any religious belief is Agnosticism I think Bill Maher nailed the point perfectly. Nobody has the answers! Everybody who believes they know what is right and will happen (philosophically) is totally deluded. This "documentary" simply points these facts out to the general populous... If you are deluded you will not like the movie. If you have an open mind and are Agnostic most likely you will enjoy the film. If you are an Atheist you might like it as well. (By the way Atheists are just as committed to their beliefs as religolites (made up word lol)). This was a funny and thought provoking film (only if you have a mind and thoughts...which precludes people who let their thoughts be dictated to them by zealots).
    OK you must get my drift by now...
    Full Review »
  2. Aug 27, 2010
    6
    Lampooning religion isn't the most difficult thing to do, but with Bill Maher at the helm and use of fast-cut editing, the movie turns into a joyride of blasphemy. Still, it's not perfect, and has the usual flaws of a sensationalist documentary (i.e. Maher only goes for the lowest common denominators to argue with, most of it is comical and lighthearted until the unexpected doomsday ending, etc.) Full Review »
  3. Mar 16, 2014
    9
    As Bill Maher himself says, he's not selling certainty, he's preaching the Gospel of I Don't Know. He sure does it in an entertaining way, however, touring the country and the world to meet some of the most ludicrous examples of religious people behaving badly the moviegoing public has ever seen. Not a journalistic expose like, say, the HBO doc Friends of God, this is more in the weird fact-based entertainment niche that Jon Stewart and Maher himself have popularized.

    Interview subjects range from truck drivers to weed worshippers, the reincarnated Jesus Christ (one of them, anyway), a British Muslim rapper, and one of the Jews who patronized the Holocaust Denial conference. And so many more. Even Maher's mother stops in to talk about the religious component of his upbringing. It's reassuring to learn that some subjects (like a profiteering preacher and an anti-gay activist who seems awfully gay) experienced real scrutiny and losses after having their idiocy exposed on screen. Conversely, it's rather sad that Ken Ham's monstrosity of a museum is still going. It's a very Michael Moore style process where subjects are surprised (perhaps unfairly), but allowed to speak in their own words in response to common sense questions. They generally make fools out of themselves while doing so.

    It's certainly an attack piece and while there are many truths here, they are selected somewhat arbitrarily. Christians, for example are shown not just as nutjobs but also in the guise of seemingly reasonable people such as a borderline atheist priest and a Catholic astronomer who believes that dogma doesn't trump science. Muslims don't get that privilege as Maher relentlessly rails on their xenophobia, violent rhetoric, and social conservativism. Neither do Jews, whose mainstream is omitted in favor of inventors trying to scam their god's Sabbath restrictions.

    It is also odd that the film makes nary a mention of the Dharmic religions (Buddhism and Hinduism, among others), or of the numerous other religions of the world. A comparison of modern organized religions to animism, cults, and dead religions would have been quite informative (and probably fun).

    The film jumps around oddly, following no clear narrative and going from lighthearted pranking to serious business without a blink. The ending is a bit abrupt, and prefaces the end of the world and makes a case for facing that possibility realistically. Nonetheless, taken as a whole, it's a film that taught me some pretty interesting things and definitely brings the laughs as well. Would that we had more discussions like this one.
    Full Review »