Critic Reviews



Based on 16 critic reviews provided by
The stripped-down filmmaking preserves the abruptness and surprise of the happy (and unhappy) accidents Reverend Billy finds at every stop along the way, from Manhattan to Anaheim.
The character isn't just shtick, though. As Billy, Talen has staged many protests in Times Square and anti-shopping "interventions" at retailers, where the managers, to say nothing of the New York police, often have failed to see the humor - he's been arrested dozens of times.
Encourages viewers to think outside the big box of super stores such as Wal-Mart.
Steeped in what may be the ultimate postmodern irony: Talen's impromptu, defiant piece of performance art with political undertones has actually taken on a spiritual dimension.
Chicago Tribune
It's a wickedly effective indictment of America's consumer compulsion, our mindless shopping and the multinational corporations controlling it all.
Entertaining and eye-opening.
The movie has a sharp point -- Americans shop too much -- but it's a problem that its bellowing hero, always accompanied by his red-robed Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir, is so off-putting; a crazy guy who wouldn't sound so crazy if he just didn't act so crazy.
Charlotte Observer
Fairly entertaining, repetitive exhortations of a televangelist who looks like Kurt Russell playing Elvis Presley with 12 additional teeth.
The Hollywood Reporter
Despite effective moments, VanAlkemade's film is too diffuse. He gives us snippets of the group's spirited performances, but their effect on audiences remains unclear.
You know that deflated feeling you get after you've spent a lot of time and money shopping - and have little to show for your efforts? This disappointing biography, about performance artist Reverend Billy, does an awfully good job recreating it.
True believers make for sloppy documentarians and that What Would Jesus Buy? is stuck in neutral because of its director's almost total lack of intellectual and psychological curiosity.

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