It’s a valid question. Seven years after George Bush II promised that he could run but he couldn’t hide, Osama Bin Laden is (as far as we know) alive and well and still evading capture. If the President and all his men can’t find him, maybe Morgan Spurlock can? After all, the campaigner reasons, if movies have taught us anything, it’s that complicated global problems are best solved by one guy. With Sly tied up in Burma and the Governator busy saving California, then why not the documentary maker who brought down fast-food giant McDonald’s (or, at any rate, downsized its meal deals)?
Give Spurlock marks for chutzpah. The man recognises a clear cut marketing opportunity when he sees one. Maybe he also genuinely imagined he’d score the scoop of the century, but if that’s really the case, reading between the lines in this movie it’s pretty clear he gave up on that dream quite early on.
Where In The World… begins brightly with some snappy jokes, nifty computer graphics and a real sense of purpose. Unfortunately, the film catches a nasty dose of mission creep. For all the hasty superspy survival training, the essential Arabic lessons and myriad inoculations, our Morgan seems to have suffered from cold feet almost at the get-go. See, he’s about to become a daddy, and the impending birth of his first child puts a different spin on the whole intrepid-reporter thing. Instead of parachuting into Peshawar, he opts for a more scenic route, taking a touristic jaunt through the Middle East: Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Along the way he discovers that, hey, Muslims are people too, who want a better life for their kids and for bombs not to drop on their heads.
This may come as news to many of Spurlock’s fellow countrymen, but for those a little more au fait with current affairs it’s disappointing just how quickly the wit and invention dry up in favour of talking heads and video diary banalities. The more seriously Spurlock takes himself, the more the movie dissolves into The Middle East For Dummies.