Larry Charles made his feature directorial debut with the utterly ridiculous Bob Dylan film Masked and Anonymous, but he has been a big name in television for years. He wrote several classic Seinfeld episodes and is a frequent Curb Your Enthusiasm director. Those two credits make him a hero to me, but it was his last film that really catapulted him onto the A - list: Borat. You would think after the enormous critical and commercial success of that film, the guy would have no problem setting up another project. Unless that project is a sure-to-be controversial flick about "the role of institutional religion around the world." Charles showed a ten-minute promotional reel of his new film to around 200 buyers at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday, and it already has people speculating that it will cause an uproar.

The film, currently titled A Spiritual Journey is said to be "a blend of comedy and reportage," which makes it sound like some of the lighter segments of Michael Moore's work. The movie has finished production, but has yet to be edited. Comedian Bill Maher will narrate the film, and he is no stranger to controversy himself. His comments criticizing the US government after September 11th led to the cancellation of his show Politically Incorrect. A Spiritual Journey has been selling quite well to foreign distributors, but America might be a trickier proposition. Those who saw the advance footage think it would be an extremely difficult film for a division of a major studio to handle. We live in a world where even the suspicion of religion bashing can cause huge protests and boycotts -- Dogma and The Last Temptation of Christ are just a couple examples of flicks that infuriated religious groups. That sort of controversy can make the big studios wary, but it can also sell a lot of tickets. I have no doubt we'll see A Spiritual Journey here at some point, but it sounds like it's going to come with a whole lot of hubbub.