Spurlock Spelunks

Morgan Spurlock, the daredevil documentarian who lived on Big Macs for a month and turned this exercise in "body art" into the 2004 hit Super Size Me, returns -- this time expanding his horizons rather than his girth. Paraphrasing the title of a venerable computer game, Where in the World Is Osama bin Laden? presents Spurlock's fact-finding tour of the Middle East and beyond. An affable action hero in search of the planet's arch supervillain, Spurlock operates from a position of feigned total ignorance as he assumes the role of a faux-naïf stranger in a strange land. But Spurlock's own education aside, the real question is whether there is actually anything particularly new to be gleaned from the travelogue that is Where in the World Is Osama bin Laden? Conventional wisdom rules: The Afghans claim that bin Laden is hiding in Pakistan; the Pakistanis reveal that the devil is actually in Afghanistan. It's there that Spurlock has his most enjoyable moment, allowed by American troops to fire a rocket launcher into the rubble. It's also amusing to learn that he's not the only celebrity opportunist -- a local politician hopes to develop Tora Bora as a tourist site. So will this all-American self-identified goofball achieve the scoop of the century, penetrate the Forbidden Zone, and track Osama in his lair? Not exactly suspenseful, this is a movie where human interest rules: Like a novice teacher staying a lesson plan ahead of his class, Spurlock is prepared for the day he can teach little Laken James Spurlock that people are people wherever you go.
April 18-25, 2008

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