Here’s what we know: We know that “What the #$*! Do We Know!?” is a tedious, faux-philosophical waste of time. We know it is brimming with New Age ideas that violate the laws of both physics and common sense. We know that the filmmakers, William Arntz, Betsy Chasse and Mark Vicente, are practitioners of a quasi-religion called the Ramtha School of Englightenment and that the film, colloquially known as “What the Bleep,” is basically a commercial for Ramtha.
I don’t have a problem with being proselytized, as long as I know that’s what’s going on. But the film doesn’t tell us Arntz and friends’ background. We are left to our own devices to discover their true agenda.
Not that it matters, really. The film is mind-numblingly pretentious and dull anyway. Knowing its background merely adds the extra sin of being distasteful.
A series of talking heads — none of whose names or credentials are given until the very end, when we discover one of them is just a chiropractor — spout nonsense on the order of, “Have you ever seen yourself through the eyes of someone else that you have become?” (Answer: No. Can I have some more marijuana, please?) Or this one: “If you believe with every rudiment of your being that you will walk on water, will you walk on water? Yes.” (Correct answer: No.)
The film purports to be about quantum physics, “the physics of possibilities.” It suggests that perhaps all realities exist simultaneously, and that it is within our power to determine which one we live in. It suggests maybe the world we know is fake and we just have to get out of it to see what it really is, which I’d already considered, because, you know, I saw “The Matrix.”
Mostly there are the talking heads that spew mumbo-jumbo, but there is also a fictionalized story about a deaf woman named Amanda (Marlee Matlin) who encounters people who tell her how to explore her realities. She also encounters her roommate Jennifer (Elaine Hendrix), who is possibly the most chirpy, annoying character in any film this year. The acting in general, in fact, is quite bad throughout the film — the result, I suppose, of having three directors with no directing experience trying to make actors say preposterous things.
If quantum physics is your thing, then perhaps “What the Bleep” has some ideas that will get you thinking. But perhaps not, too. Did I mention it’s flat, dull and pompous? What the bleep, guys? Seriously, what the bleep?
D (1 hr., 51 min.; )