Metascore
60

Mixed or average reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 16
  2. Negative: 1 out of 16
Watch On
  1. 83
    The stripped-down filmmaking preserves the abruptness and surprise of the happy (and unhappy) accidents Reverend Billy finds at every stop along the way, from Manhattan to Anaheim.
  2. 75
    Steeped in what may be the ultimate postmodern irony: Talen's impromptu, defiant piece of performance art with political undertones has actually taken on a spiritual dimension.
  3. The character isn't just shtick, though. As Billy, Talen has staged many protests in Times Square and anti-shopping "interventions" at retailers, where the managers, to say nothing of the New York police, often have failed to see the humor - he's been arrested dozens of times.
  4. Reviewed by: Jessica Reaves
    75
    It’s a wickedly effective indictment of America’s consumer compulsion, our mindless shopping and the multinational corporations controlling it all.
  5. Encourages viewers to think outside the big box of super stores such as Wal-Mart.
  6. Reviewed by: Julia Wallace
    70
    Much like Spurlock's hit "Super Size Me," this production is slick, well-paced, and tremendously entertaining.
  7. 70
    Loud, proud and cheeky, the film runs roughshod over corporate behemoths Disney, Starbucks and Wal-Mart as it preaches a sermon of simplicity and consumer awareness.
  8. 70
    Must-see viewing for anyone who thinks of Christmas as just a mall and its night visitors.
  9. Reviewed by: Gregory Kirschling
    67
    The movie has a sharp point -- Americans shop too much -- but it's a problem that its bellowing hero, always accompanied by his red-robed Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir, is so off-putting; a crazy guy who wouldn't sound so crazy if he just didn't act so crazy.
  10. Fairly entertaining, repetitive exhortations of a televangelist who looks like Kurt Russell playing Elvis Presley with 12 additional teeth.
  11. 60
    At the very least, the documentary What Would Jesus Buy? might make a viewer think twice about that next purchase at the Gap.
  12. Despite effective moments, VanAlkemade's film is too diffuse. He gives us snippets of the group's spirited performances, but their effect on audiences remains unclear.
  13. You know that deflated feeling you get after you've spent a lot of time and money shopping - and have little to show for your efforts? This disappointing biography, about performance artist Reverend Billy, does an awfully good job recreating it.
  14. Reviewed by: Josh Rosenblatt
    40
    True believers make for sloppy documentarians and that What Would Jesus Buy? is stuck in neutral because of its director’s almost total lack of intellectual and psychological curiosity.
  15. 33
    It's neither conceptually bold nor slyly satirical when Billy dresses up as a Southern evangelical and sings made-up hymns about "the shopacalypse."
User Score
6.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 1 out of 3
  1. FrankC
    Nov 29, 2008
    3
    Starts off with a strong message about debt and consumerism, but quickly goes wildly off tangent. Wal-Mart and Starbucks, much maligned by Starts off with a strong message about debt and consumerism, but quickly goes wildly off tangent. Wal-Mart and Starbucks, much maligned by neo-Liberals, are not the root of the consumption problem. Our government and the quasi-governmental Federal Reserve deserve most of the blame for their continued manipulation of credit to encourage consumption over saving. Rev Billy has no respect for private property and needs to stop harassing people engaged in voluntary transactions. Full Review »
  2. EB
    Dec 5, 2007
    10
    Believe it or not, I saw Rev Billy on C-Span first. It took a minute to know what the hell was going on and I started to lose it - Believe it or not, I saw Rev Billy on C-Span first. It took a minute to know what the hell was going on and I started to lose it - Changealluhah! Director Spurlock is one of the few public Americans I'm truly proud of - great interview with him by Mike Papintonio you can see on AirAmerica or GoLeftTV. Full Review »
  3. MatthewR.
    Nov 16, 2007
    10
    I loved this film and pray that it gets out to a lot of audiences. Very important for our consumer culture to hear this message, especially I loved this film and pray that it gets out to a lot of audiences. Very important for our consumer culture to hear this message, especially when the messenger is so funny! Changelujah! Full Review »