Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed belongs to that most intriguing of film genres: the documentary. By dictionary definition, a documentary is "a film or TV program presenting the facts about a person or event." You might not agree with what some of them have to say, but viewers could just as well admire their overall presentation instead. But there's nothing admirable about Expelled. As sloppy an excuse for filmmaking as there has ever been, it's more of an anti-documentary than anything, providing neither facts nor any semblance of a valid argument. To say Expelled is a half-hearted venture is to infer that any effort at all was put into creating it.
From the start, Expelled ignites a fire of controversy. Its basis is one of the most touchy topics of our times: the validity of intelligent design as a scientific theory. But don't expect a heated debate between those in this camp and those who adhere to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Expelled is a card-carrying member of the former troupe, setting out on a mission to show that the scientific community should equally embrace intelligent design. Heading up this daring expedition is a rather unlikely figurehead: Ben Stein, of Ferris Bueller's Day Off fame, who jet-sets across the globe to interview those shunned for their beliefs. The portrait the picture paints of those scientists who believe in Darwin's findings is a dark one indeed, that of academic bullies ready to suppress any dissenting opinions. But Stein and company aren't going down without a fight, determined to stick to their guns and prove that intelligent design holds up just fine in the world of science.
What's the problem? Well, Expelled never gets around to doing that. In not a single one of its 97 minutes does the film provide a valid argument as to why intelligent design should be accepted. Instead, Expelled spends its time depicting those who oppose it as being part of an atheistic conspiracy to rid the world of all religious thoughts. This movie discusses Darwinists the same way that Ann Coulter refers to liberals, as if they all travel in packs just waiting to pounce on and discredit anyone who disagrees with them. Virtually the entire film is one story after another about how the big, bad scientific community is out to put the kibosh on anyone in the academic world who dares even mention intelligent design. But Expelled does nothing to counter its subject's detractors, rather trying to win its argument not by being right but by making the competition look as bad as possible.