Everybody who watches the Fox News Channel should first be required to watch this documentary exposé (on disc July 13), so as to be inoculated against the infectiously neo-fascist notions hawked by America's most obviously unfair and imbalanced "news" organization. They won't, of course, because, as Robert Greenwald's insta-doc demonstrates, Fox News is a feedback loop of willful ignorance: Studies have shown that the more people watch it, the less they actually know about the world, and the likelier they are to buy simplistic lies, such as that Iraq was behind 9/11 and rife with WMDs.
At his punchy best, Greenwald emulates the wham-bam effectiveness of Fox itself. To refute whack attack-dog host Bill O'Reilly's claim that he hardly ever tells guests to "shut up," Greenwald compiles a rat-a-tat edit of O'Reilly barking just that, over and over. The compilation of Fox character assassins ramming home the trope "Kerry/ flip-flop" achieves a positively hip-hop rhythmic brilliance. Fox staffers reveal many examples of extremist Fox slimebags treating the truth like Silly Putty; both Seattle-journalist-turned-professorial-author Bob McChesney and neo-con-man-turned-pinko-author David Brock (Blinded by the Right) nail Fox with acumen and gravitas.
Outfoxed is fairer than Fahrenheit 9/11, if not more balanced, yet this is its besetting sin. It starts droning toward the end, and its climactic call to action is dull. (Greenwald previously produced Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election, which at least had some built-in, steal-the-vote dramatic structure to it.) The truth, simply and soberly stated, can't hold its own in modern politics, which is why nobody watches the news— real news—anymore. You have to be irresponsibly entertaining, like Moore and Fox. The most entertaining parts of this movie are the most Fox–like.
AUG. 3 BRINGS Zorba the Greek to disc for the first time. I, Robot director Alex Proyas adds a commentary to his Aussie rock-band movie Garage Days. Willem Dafoe and Paul Bettany play medieval thespians/sleuths in The Reckoning. A two-disc set of The Princess Diaries will prime tweeners for its Aug. 11 sequel. Jennifer Garner brings some charm to 13 Going on 30, while Viggo Mortensen is almost, but not quite, upstaged by his horse in Hidalgo. Warner Bros. is reissuing several old Elvis titles including the Seattle-set It Happened at the World's Fair, in which the King takes a date to the Space Needle.