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Borat

Last night I went and saw Borat, because Paul Haines (paulhaines) said to me, "Tell me you like Borat, despite the hype!"

I did want to see the film, because any film with bad taste jokes about retards, Jews, prostitutes, bears, and Jesus is my kind of thing, so I wasn't making any kind of sacrifice by bowing to Haines' demand. But ultimately, if it wasn't for Haines' and my desire to tell him he's wrong wrong wrong wrong I wouldn't even bother with a blog entry about the film. If the truth be known (and it shall), I was mostly just bored by the whole thing.

Borat offers the premise of a TV reporter from Kazakhstan going to America to learn what makes the country so great. Since he's not familiar with the political correct world of the West, the usual kind of misunderstandings take place. If you've seen the trailer for the film, you've seen Borat go to the feminist group, seen him wear the swimmers, and tell you his sister is the fourth best prostitute in the country. Basically, the rest of the film is more of the same, and with the exception of one laugh out loud moment when Borat and his buddy fight--that alone is worth the price of a rental--the film is just a lot of easy marks on the topics and I've seen its kind before.

I think, also, that Borat didn't hit my humour level quite right. I like quick, sharp dialogue, and Borat, with his broken English, never hits that for me, and the quick, speedy back and forth that I enjoy isn't there. Given the bad taste content, I couldn't help but compare Borat to shows like South Park and Family Guy. In the end, those shows go further than Borat in the bad taste, and they make a sharper commentary on their topics. Ultimately, by selecting 'America' as its commentary, Borat never makes much out of its target that hasn't been made in many broad, slap the target kind of ways. There's nothing wrong with Borat as a film, and if you want to go and see it, feel free, but if you come out of it not feeling any particular thing whatsoever, and thinking that the journey for Pamela Anderson is a bit on the not real interesting side, and couldn't they have picked something not so tired, then you're pretty much on my side of the fence.

Got to love that Jew Egg joke, though.

Comments

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mattdoyle
Dec. 4th, 2006 12:47 am (UTC)
I can't explain it, but when I saw Borat, I noticed that some of the racist/sexist jokes were funny, I laughed at them. But the way some of the people in the cinema laughed at them didn't seem...right. Like I said, I can't really explain how, but the way some people were reacting was sort of scary, like somehow they were buying into the racism and not really getting the joke. Maybe I am just being paranoid.
One of my dumb friends said: "It's so degrading towards women," at which point I laughed in her face. She didn't get it. I don't think those people in the audience when I went got it either. Maybe because it is because of the awkwardness of the dialogue, or maybe people are just stupid. I don't know.
girliejones
Dec. 4th, 2006 01:13 am (UTC)
I gotta agree with you - I wasn't convinced *why* the audience was laughing and it was a bit scary.
benpeek
Dec. 4th, 2006 02:45 am (UTC)
i never got the feel that people round me were laughing in the wrong way. a bunch of people did walk out, tho. go figure.
girliejones
Dec. 4th, 2006 01:12 am (UTC)
I'm not sure I got the Jew egg joke
benpeek
Dec. 4th, 2006 02:51 am (UTC)
that they be not human is it, basically. like the whole goblin outfits. they birth their young in eggs, freaky.

also, i seem to remember that a jew egg was a euphanism for somethign that meant getting a present that was not any good. but--i googled and couldn't find anything to support that, so who knows?
girliejones
Dec. 4th, 2006 02:56 am (UTC)
hmm.. I never heard that before. Yeah, I thought it was the subhuman thing, it was just a little obscure to me.

I have never thought he was funny though - I don't do slapstick and little boy toilet jokes.
benpeek
Dec. 4th, 2006 03:01 am (UTC)
i like things that take on political correctness. everyone is so caught up in NOT speaking about racism, about hiding it, that it never allows it to come out and be taken on. say one thing about the film: borat never looked right about his racism.
girliejones
Dec. 4th, 2006 03:03 am (UTC)
No he didn't. Some of his bits were quite pointed to. The problem was I was never sure who the audience was laughing at. I went with three other Jewish people and the egg scene had all of us kinda exchanging glances. I really didn't know why the audience found that so hugely hilariuos. Were they pumped up to see a whole movie of Borat and were determined to laugh at the whole thing? Some of his things were a bit subtle for the kind of reactions he got.
benpeek
Dec. 4th, 2006 03:09 am (UTC)
what gets the laugh, i think, is doing something audacious, and which most people couldn't/wouldn't say under normal conditions. the jew egg thing is funny, simply because the idea that a jewish woman would lay an egg, and then someone would urge children to destroy it before it hatches... it's so over the top, so something you don't encounter in normal society. i think that's what gets the laugh.
girliejones
Dec. 4th, 2006 03:12 am (UTC)
the outrageousness of it
benpeek
Dec. 4th, 2006 03:15 am (UTC)
totally.

take the new orson scott card book. that's funny for much the same reason. shame he's dead serious.
girliejones
Dec. 4th, 2006 03:20 am (UTC)
i will actually be reading that book though - worth a look i reckon, to see it all in context
benpeek
Dec. 4th, 2006 03:29 am (UTC)
nah. i don't need to pay money for this rubbish.
girliejones
Dec. 4th, 2006 05:01 am (UTC)
oh i thought it was avail online.
benpeek
Dec. 4th, 2006 09:22 am (UTC)
only the first five chapters.
girliejones
Dec. 4th, 2006 12:17 pm (UTC)
i'll read those and see
ex_chrisbil
Dec. 4th, 2006 01:16 am (UTC)
I have avoided this film 'cos I anticipate pretty much what you've said, and also the first comment up there. It will make me uneasy, and pretty much say too much about Joe Pulic for my liking...

... on the other hand, I was asked to go and see it by hot hot hot Bec (from Sydney, no less!), and so I might... or I might not, as she seems to have lost interest. *le sigh*
benpeek
Dec. 4th, 2006 02:54 am (UTC)
just call the girl.
ataxi
Dec. 4th, 2006 04:35 am (UTC)
I haven't yet seen this film because based on Ali G I don't remotely trust Sacha Baron Cohen to get the tone right. However, people of good taste (no, I don't quite mean you ;-) keep telling me it's hilarious, so maybe he does manage it, or maybe he just does his bad taste with such humour that it's worth it.
benpeek
Dec. 4th, 2006 09:24 am (UTC)
well, i haven't actually ran into a person who disliked it. most people just seem to dig it, or just find it not to their taste. i'd forgotten he was the ali g guy, too. i never dug ali g.
paulhaines
Dec. 4th, 2006 04:49 am (UTC)
Ah, Ben, the movie is fucking funny! It oversteps the boundaries all the time which is what I enjoyed about it. I also dig the uneasy line bewteen mockumentary and scripted narrative. That's a pretty hard blur to blur, and he blurred it pretty well.

I do like some of the other comments about people laughing for the wrong reasons though. They don't actually get the jokes -- they're laughing because he's saying what they really think. I remember seeing Romper Stomper and a bunch of neo-nazis down the front of the cinema were loving it, shouting out, throwing their beer cans etc, but walked out in disgust when the Russell and his boys got what was coming to them.

I also loved the number 1 son routine, where Borat shows photos of him and his number 1 son who is very good, very big. And then the penis shots come out. Love it!

benpeek
Dec. 4th, 2006 09:25 am (UTC)
yeah, i will give you that the mocumentry/scripted thing is hard to blur, and it's done well here.

but you know, int he end, i'm just 'eh'. i'd rather watch ROMPER STOMPER :)
mevennen
Dec. 4th, 2006 12:54 pm (UTC)
I probably won't see it - I know what he's trying to do, but I used to live in Kazakhstan (which isn't geographically small, BTW - it's the size of Europe) and his take on it is so far from accurate that I do actually find it a bit offensive. Some of the Borat stuff I've seen has been funny, though.

When I was still involved with Central Asian govt, the then-Ambassador of Kazakhstan in London asked my boss if something could be 'done' about Baron Cohen and I think you know what I mean by 'done.' We said not. But he is sailing closer to the wind than perhaps he realises.
benpeek
Dec. 5th, 2006 02:07 am (UTC)
yeah, i can see how anyone who had been in the country would find it offensive. and like i said, if you've seen the trailer and few other bits, there's really no need to see the film.
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