Dr. Miami (Michael Salzhauer) is a Miami-based plastic surgeon who specializes in Brazilian Butt Lifts, whose most valued employee is a social media consultant. He has assembled a multinational team of like-minded surgeons who are happy to pay to be part of his network. Salzhauer spends most of his time filming Game of Thrones spoofs, appearing in music videos, and may or may not have time left over to actually perform surgeries in his namesake clinic, within his namesake tower. Salzhauer is also an Orthodox Jew who seems fully aware of the fundamental conflict between his religion and his work, but believes it is necessary to sacrifice his beliefs to get what he wants. And also believes that everyone else is doing the same.
By all account it is a wonder why Dr. Miami is even a doctor. He is focused on fame above family, work, and religion. Without even a cursory nod to professionalism, every aspect of his life is secondary to fame, and it’s not close. Dr. Miami is an irredeemable character who would, I think, be quite happy with how he is portrayed in this documentary. So it is a credit to filmmaker Jean-Simon Chartier that a documentary about this unlikeable person manages to stay neutral and, more impressively, stay interesting, as we follow Dr. Miami’s relentless pursuit of more.
If you are anything like me you will be horrified by much of what you see in They Call Me Dr. Miami, and yet you will be unable to look away. This is an unflinching look at a person whom I cannot resist judging as a buffoon, yet I must admit he is more introspective and self-aware than I would ever have guessed from his social media content. They Call Me Dr. Miami manages to humanize an individual even as he is trying so very hard to make a caricature of himself. That is no small feat, and it is all due to Chartier’s ability to remain objective, to which every true documentarian aspires but so few accomplish.