What the #$*! Do We (K)now!? - What the $!@ Were They Thinking?

Alliance Atlantis
Duration: 109min
Category: Documentary
Available: On DVD
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How does one explain the movie What the #$*! Do We (K)now!? It's a pseudo-documentary about Quantum Physics and Spirituality that is illustrated by following Marlee Matlin playing a woman having a bad day. I know you are probably saying "what the…?" at this point but believe me, it's not as weird as it seems.

Let's begin by examining if the film works as a documentary. Usually, I enjoy a documentary that challenges my mind, teaches me something, or makes an interesting point. After viewing What the #$*! Do We (K)now!?, I am not sure this film does any of the above.

The ideas presented in this film are nothing new to anyone who has read a myriad of new age self-help style books (the work of Deepak Chopra comes to mind). Also, the ideas presented in this film are muddled and messy. There is no cohesion. The film throws ideas out without connecting them to each other or grounding them. It also leaves all its points hanging without any "so there" moment. What are we to do with the propositions put forward?

It's like your friend comes to you, tells you he has something interesting to tell you, says 4 unrelated and random statements that come with no context and no follow up and then asks you, "aren't you impressed?"

Well… no. The question that really comes to mind is, what's the point?

There are some interesting moments involving the printed word's effect on water and I guess if you haven't ever read any Quantum Physics or maybe have closed your mind to spiritual ideas, some of the movie might be intriguing but this movie only covers the basics.

Now there is nothing wrong with presenting only the basics. For someone who has never contemplated these themes the basics are a good place to start. However, the film does so irresponsibly. It introduces the basics without context without meaning. throwing them around randomly without anything to give the audience, especially a naive audience, any grounding.

This could be due to poor editing. There is a new version being released with extra footage and further explanation. Maybe this version will satisfy in the way the original doesn't.

Now I want to discuss if the film works as a movie. Looking at it from this point of view I want to be entertained. What the #$*! Do We (K)now!? really doesn't do that. The story with Matlin going through her day to illustrate the ideas doesn't work on two levels.

First of all, it's lame and amateurish. It looks like those cheap educational films that we were subjected to in grade school. The acting is wooden (especially from Oscar winning Matlin), the dialogue corny and the production values are below par. In this age of TLC and Discovery, docudrama can be done so much better than this.
Secondly, the dramatic sequences do little to enhance the argument. Often the pieces seem disjointed form what the talking heads are saying. There is little there to illustrate the point.

What the #$*! Do We (K)now!? has become a bit of phenom recently but it really doesn't live up to the hype. There are far more interesting books on the subject that would probably give you a better understanding of these ideas than this film does. Also, the upside is that you would be as bored as you are when you watch this flick.

Review By: Collin Smith

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