Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden? Image
Metascore
45

Mixed or average reviews - based on 28 Critics What's this?

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6.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

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  • Summary: If Morgan Spurlock has learned anything from more than 30 years of movie-watching, it's that if the world needs saving, it's best done by one lonely guy willing to face danger head-on and take it down, action hero style. In Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker takes on a franchise even more lethal than McDonald's--Al Qaeda. And after this real-life action thriller is over, the world may never be the same. So, with no military experience, knowledge, or expertise, he sets off to do what the CIA, FBI, and US military have all failed to do: find the world's most wanted man. Why take on such a seemingly impossible mission? Simple--he wants to make the world safe for his soon-to-be-born child. But before he finds bin Laden, he first needs to learn where he came from and the environment and influences that shaped him. Following bin Laden's trail through some of the most dangerous places in the world, Spurlock encounters both the rational and the radical faces of the Middle East. He interviews many people who embrace him on the streets and welcome him into their homes, often experiencing their cultures in ways that sharply contrast with the conventional media images of the region. Spurlock finds they're not that different from American families, sharing the same hopes and fears for their children that he has for his own. Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? goes beyond shedding light on the one man that has shaped the world's perception of a region and its people. Spurlock risks life and limb to uncover the truth about bin Laden, and in doing so explores the lines that divide, those that unite, and the countless shades of grey between. (Weinstein Company) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 28
  2. Negative: 6 out of 28
  1. Reviewed by: Mark Bell
    70
    The film is, like "Super Size Me," extremely entertaining and, again, Spurlock shows that if it's one thing he knows how to do well, it's the first 10 minutes of a documentary.
  2. 67
    No doubt this is a sincere film. But its wobbly technique prevents it from ever reaching a point.
  3. 63
    Could as easily be called "Spurlock: Cultural Learnings Of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of America."
  4. In casbahs and desert villages, in kibbutzim and around the campfire, Spurlock has a way of getting people to open up, to use their real voices and express their real opinions, the likes of which never make it onto network news. That's his gift, and when he uses it, "Where in the World zzzzz-zzzz" opens up into a miraculous document.
  5. 50
    An affable action hero in search of the planet's arch supervillain, Spurlock is less irritating than his obvious model, Michael Moore, but also less politically astute; assuming the role of a faux-naïf stranger in a strange land, he's more benign and not nearly as funny as unacknowledged analogue Sacha Baron Cohen.
  6. 42
    While the film's gags don't always jibe with its sincere interviews of Middle Eastern citizens, or its worrisome encounters with the soldiers serving in dangerous territory--the constantly shifting tone provides as many hit bits as misses.
  7. A film so self-centered that even the director's most dedicated stalkers might find it a bit too narcissistic.

See all 28 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 13
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 13
  3. Negative: 5 out of 13
  1. TJJ
    Apr 24, 2008
    10
    I think Roy B voted for Bush so I blame him for the mess we're in. He missed the whole point of the movie much like Bush missed whole point of intelligence. This movie reminds us of the culture that created bin Laden and we must understand that before we can win against the extremists. Collapse
  2. DennisB.
    Apr 21, 2008
    10
    Wicked funny and very smart, Morgan Spurlock's unique style uses humor, a'la Supersize, Me to as a vehicle to present his take on the search for the one person most responsible for U.S foreign policy direction in the 21st century. Expand
  3. ChristianB.
    Oct 2, 2008
    9
    Spurlock does it again. I like him a lot more than Michael Moore nowadays. Spurlock puts himself on the line and you got to respect that. His latest is both entertaining and enlighting. And people who think this actually is about finding Osama will be disappointed. That's just a brilliant excuse to do this sort of documentary that otherwise would have had a hard time keeping the story together. The point of this documentary was very clear to me in the end. Ordinary people live everywhere in the world. Even in "enemy territory". And that's what you miss out on when you watch Fox News 24/7. Expand
  4. ChadS.
    May 4, 2008
    6
    The filmmaker knew beforehand when his baby was due, but he went ahead with his trip to the Middle East anyway. In a motel room, it's sharing time; only now does the filmmaker have second thoughts about his globetrotting in potentially hostile territory, while the stateside wife goes it alone and holds the fort during her time of need. And we see his wife, in "Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden", as a way of manipulating the audience. The general conceit behind this, yes, Michael Moore-like documentary, is that he's going to capture the Taliban head honcho in order to make the world a safer place for his unborn child. We're supposed to empathize with both the expectant father- and mother-to-be, because a higher calling(he's going to save the world) has torn them apart. Late in the film, the filmmaker takes a few steps towards the camera, and says, "It's just not worth it." He returns stateside. He's there, we're there, too, for their big day. Not only does "Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden" feel calculated from the start, there's a narcissism that would be absolutely intolerable if it wasn't for the genuine likability of the filmmaker. His personal matters are both extraneous, and unnecessary, in lieu of his wonderful ability to get an assortment of people to open up and share their personal experiences and opinions about life in a war zone. "Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden" faintly recalls Mark Moskowitz's "Stone Reader", the 2002 documentary about a book lover's quest to track down a one-and-done novelist named Dow Mossman, who wrote an obscure book called "The Stones of Summer". Moskowitz could've used a search engine to find his subject, but he just wanted an excuse to talk with people about books. Bin Laden is the filmmaker's excuse to converse with strangers in strange lands. To hear what these strangers say, despite the filmmaker's pandering to gamers(and people who wouldn't like old-school documentary filmmaking), is the main reason to see this flawed, but important, pop non-fiction film. Expand
  5. JayH.
    Aug 18, 2008
    6
    I liked the various cultures and areas of the middle east where Morgan Spurlock explored and visited and the various opinions from those areas. But Spurlock's focus on Osama Bin Laden misses the mark and seems rather pointless. It's still interesting throughout. Expand
  6. RoyB.
    Apr 21, 2008
    2
    I went to this movie expecting to be entertained. I also knew it was a lighthearted take on current affairs, so I knew the point was to have some entertainment value on a hugely serious topic. I was neither enlightened nor entertained. I'm all for new fresh takes on serious subjects, even using humor when it's creative. But seriously, folks, this movie felt like it was done by a first grader. There was nothing really gained from this movie. I could've squeezed more wisdom, freshness, or provocative thoughts from an orange. It was somewhat disturbing to see the director/star so thrilled to be firing a rocket launcher. Doesn't he know that these are the same weapons that kill people, that others use so brazenly as well? All in all, a why-did-I-see-this-movie movie. Expand
  7. GeorgeV.
    Apr 21, 2008
    0
    Just a few words will sum it up: Dumb. Moronic. Glosses over everything. No depth. Stupid. Treats the audience like a bunch of pre schoolers. So many things wrong with this movie. Too many to list. I haven't been to a movie this stupid since--well Disney cartoons are lightyears smarter than this gloop. Expand

See all 13 User Reviews