Morgan Spurlock's hit documentary Super Size Me made up for its nickel-and-dime budget by having a million-dollar concept: what would happen if the director ate nothing but McDonald's burgers and fries for a month? But Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden? is a classic "difficult second album". The film has a much bigger budget this time round, hence all the international travel and expensive-looking animation, but the concept, much like Spurlock at the end of Super Size Me, is weaker and flabbier. He starts by declaring that his wife is pregnant, and that he therefore wants to make the world a safer place for his unborn child. His plan: he'll catch the leader of al-Qa'ida.
It's all a bit spurious. If Spurlock genuinely hopes to unearth new information about Bin Laden's location – and that wouldn't be beyond some documentary-makers – then what's he doing on a camel in Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia, interviewing passing locals? If, on the other hand, he just wants to learn about Islamic attitudes to the US, then why does he keep stressing how vital it is to complete his mission before the deadline of fatherhood?
The film is an engaging introduction to American foreign policy in the Middle East, with a jovial, politically savvy host. But the soppy phone calls between Spurlock and his wife are a tiresome gimmick. And not many IoS readers will be rocked by the conclusion that, hey, some Muslims don't want to take over the world, after all.Reuse content