Sicko (PG-13)

Documentary 120 June 29th, 2007
By J. Hoberman
Sicko shows America’s pre-eminent cinemuckraker in a seriously polemical mode. Michael Moore’s latest isn’t about the 50 million Americans without health insurance. It's about the 250 million Americans who do have coverage — such as the 79-year-old guy working in a supermarket to maintain his prescription-drug benefits. The movie’s first half-hour is a virtual sideshow: Step right up and see the medically bankrupt couple forced to live in their daughter’s basement trophy room, the woman whose insurance carrier told her that she failed to get an emergency ambulance "pre-approved," the employee who lost her benefits because she didn’t report an ancient yeast infection as a pre-existing condition. Annotating these and other, more ghastly human-interest stories, Moore — who, for much of <Sicko, is a narrator rather than a participant — adopts a tone dripping with treacle and sarcasm. He’s the P.T. Barnum of human misery who, going back to Roger & Me, has never been one to let details interfere with a good story. And yet, as Moore builds his case that health insurance in America is essentially a profit-making enterprise based on bilking the afflicted, the cumulative effect of this material is devastating.
Michael Moore Michael Moore, Tony Benn, George W. Bush, Reggie Cervantes, Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Graham, William Maher, Richard Nixon, Linda Peeno Michael Moore Kathleen Glynn The Weinstein Company