One of these industries is the network of charlatans promising sexual enhancement through bigger breasts or male genitals; the other is the publishing world's raging river of self-help books. But our boys don't stop there. Just to make sure each viewer comes away impeached at least once for championing a sacred cow, Penn and Teller take on creationists, anti-smokers, vegetarians, extreme environmentalists, and feng shui enthusiasts. Everyone is bound to feel a little offended at some point in this boxed set's 360 minutes, but P&T offset their indignation with wily humor and the occasional, dazzling trick.
"Talking to the Dead" doesn't dwell on Houdini's penchant for exposing the fakery behind old-fashioned seances. But it does attack today's celebrity mediums, especially the Sci-Fi Channel's John Edward, whose off-screen methods for gathering useful, private information about his audiences are revealed. "Alien Abductions" seeks reasons behind claims of extraterrestrial probing of human orifices, but saves most of Penn and Teller's wrath for those who profit from others' delusions. "Near Death Experiences" challenges assumptions about glimpsing the afterlife, and "Alternative Medicine" weighs in on the ever-sensitive subject of non-medicinal remedies for illness.
The most fun episode, by far, is "Sex, Sex, Sex," which is adorned by a lot of beautiful, naked men and women milling about while Penn and Teller chase down sundry hucksters, including a hypnotherapist who claims she can enlarge naughty bits through subconscious suggestion. This engrossing, three-disc set is rounded out by a number of delightful special features, including entertaining outtakes and a bonus "Ghost Segment." --Tom Keogh