Michael Moore’s latest political documentary, Slacker Uprising, chronicles his 60-city tour to rally young voters before the 2004 presidential election – a “failed attempt to turn things around.” Moore has personal objectivity as well as some judgmental behavior, but at least he honestly and simply explains his views. Selective footage includes an uninformed Moore opponent who hates Moore’s movies, even though he admits to not seeing one, because he has “heard enough to know it’s not the truth.”
This documentary, produced by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, has everything short of a head-to-head debate between Moore and a qualified Republican. Earnest entertainment segments include music performances and spoof ads, which provide a break among numerous news/media clips and sweeping camera shots of large crowds. Moore’s cavalcade of celebrity buddies, including stars like Eddie Vedder, Joan Baez, and Viggo Mortensen, gets a bit tiring…and occasionally profane, especially when Rosanne Barr shows up.
Moore can be commended for wisely taking his name out of this documentary title (possible titles included Captain Mike Across America and Michael Moore’s Uprising). He gets plenty of exposure as the star and pokes fun at himself throughout the festivities. He even offers ramen noodles and new underwear to young voters who sign up on the spot, then consequently, Moore must address accusations of bribery. That incentive seems demeaning, but the film has various genuine moments where young voters really connect with him - one young man even gives Moore a Bronze Star.
This 102-minute documentary gets increasingly dramatic in the rhetoric realms of religion and media – two areas Moore has credible professional and personal experience in. His personal investment and emotional involvement also increases along the way, especially after a visit to Kent State.
Moore also makes a difference in people’s pocketbooks as this film can be seen free via computer downloads at slackeruprising.com, which fulfills his own wishes for wide, inexpensive dissemination of his film), though a collector’s DVD edition full of extras is also available for $9.95 on October 7. This film does not offer many new experiences for audiences who have already seen Moore’s documentaries except a more personal account of his political activities. Recommended with reservations and not rated by the MPAA, but it includes profanity.
The political film genre shows no signs of slowing down on either side. Next year, twenty years since his first documentary feature, Roger & Me, Moore will release an untitled project that is reportedly a follow up to Fahrenheit 9/11, but before that Moore will become the main target of David Zucker’s comedy spoof this fall called An American Carol.