The Bye Bye Man
The Bye Bye Man is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.
Michael Moore’s surprising and extraordinarily winning “Where to Invade Next” will almost surely cast his detractors at Fox News and similar sinkholes into consternation. They get lots of mileage out of painting Moore as a far-left provocateur who’s all about “running America down.” But his new film is all about building America up, in some amazingly novel and thought-provoking ways. In my view, it’s one of the most genuinely, and valuably, patriotic films any American has ever made.
It comes billed not as a documentary but a comedy, and the first joke is its hilariously misleading title. You think it anticipates a stern, leftist denunciation of American foreign policy. Instead, Moore tells us the Joint Chiefs of Staff invited him to Washington, DC, to confess that all their wars since “the big one” have been disastrous and ask his advice. He responds by offering himself up as a one-man army who will “invade countries populated by Caucasians whose names I can mostly pronounce, take the things we need from them, and bring them back home to the United States of America.”
So, wearing his trademark baseball cap and literally wrapped in the flag, he sets off across the Atlantic searching out peoples to conquer who have things America needs. Yes, he knows all of these countries have their own share of problems. But he’s come, he says, “to pick the flowers, not the weeds.” And what a bouquet he assembles.
First stop is Italy, where he wonders why “Italians always look like they just had sex.” He finds some reasons for that happy glow in talking to a 30ish couple—he’s a cop, she works for a clothing company—who start enumerating all the paid vacation time they get. The basic portion, decreed by law, is four weeks, but when you add in government holidays and such, it comes closer to eight. They use all this time to vacation in places like Miami and Zanzibar, so there’s more than just sex (though we guess there’s plenty of that too) to explain their radiant tans and satisfied smiles.