But there's a more dramatic contrast. Film critics are supposed to judge art, but their liberal politics are smeared all over their reviews. Metacritic.com collects and analyzes movie reviews. "Obvious Child" drew a high Metacritic.com score of 75 (out of 100). For D'Souza's "America," it was a ridiculously low score of 14.
Then take the highest-grossing documentary in our history, Michael Moore's 2004 hatchet job "Fahrenheit 9/11." Editor and Publisher magazine reported nine of 10 newspaper movie critics recommended the film.
The Washington Post gushed over Moore's prankumentary. "Its trajectory is guided with pinpoint accuracy," wrote Desson Thomson, and it "obviously skews facts to its own advantage, but that's what the game is all about. What counts is the emotional power of Moore's persuasion."
"Fahrenheit" was loaded with bizarre and unproven charges against former President George W. Bush, most offensively suggesting the Bush family and Osama bin Laden's family were in cahoots over 9/11. Moore concluded the film with a conspiracy theory: "In principle, the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects." All of that was just fine.
But when it came to the new D'Souza film, the same newspaper's Mark Jenkins suddenly found perceived fact-skewing and one-sidedness to be just awful. "'America' is less successful as a debate, since it isn't one. D'Souza controls the conversation, and thus goes unchallenged when he tries to make real-world points with make-believe scenarios."
Then there's The New York Times. In 2004, Dana Stevens wrote that while the facts of "Fahrenheit 911" could be debated, "it should first of all be appreciated as a high-spirited and unruly exercise in democratic self-expression." As for D'Souza's self-expression? The Times critics have yet to bother reviewing the movie.
The movie's only questionable note is the egocentric turn at the end when D'Souza shows himself in handcuffs and notes his own prosecution for making $20,000 in straw donations to a U.S. Senate race in New York. D'Souza has a point about selective prosecution under Obama, but it loses its punch when the accuser has admitted his guilt.