Thursday, November 02, 2006

BORAT: Discussion


This is very exciting. I saw Borat a couple of months ago at an advanced screening, and thought it was absolutely hilarious. The only problem was, I couldn’t talk about it with my friends because I didn’t want to give anything away! It's been eating away at me like crazy ever since, but now that it’s out... my vow of incredibly selfless silence can finally end!

OH MY GOD! There are so many great moments in this movie. So many times where you feel soooo uncomfortable, and yet you just can't help but crack up!

First of all, I have to get this off my chest... the naked wrestling! That may in fact be the funniest five minutes ever. Definitely the best part of the movie in my opinion. I love the way Borat is all censored, and yet his friend Azamat is just hangin’ out there for all to see. (Actually, “love” might not be the appropriate term here exactly, but it certainly was something to behold!) I'm just shocked they were able to keep this whole sequence in and still get an R rating! So glad they didn't have to cut it out. Can you just imagine being one of those poor unsuspecting people in that elevator?

I also really loved the formal southern dinner sequence. The progression of events builds so well, and watching all the dinner guests' reactions to Borat's antics was just fascinating. It was great when Borat gets up to go to the bathroom, and that one woman in red sort of sticks up for him, and then he comes walking back in with a bag of his own excrement. Her reaction there is just priceless. You think she is absolutely going to flip out, but then she winds up still thinking she can change him and takes him to the bathroom. It's not until Borat brings in that adorable black prostitute that everyone loses their cool and threaten to call the cops on him! Was it because she was a prostitute or because she was black?

The part of the movie that I felt the most uncomfortable with (and that is saying a lot), is where Borat and Azamat realize they're in a Jewish household and flee the place in fear for their lives. I think it's kind of interesting that this scene struck the biggest nerve with me, namely because it was completely staged and didn't involve any real-life displays of racism or bigotry the way, say... the rodeo scene did. Maybe the reason I felt this way is because with the real, unscripted interactions, there's a sense of satisfaction that comes along with seeing Borat expose these ugly people. So even though we're hearing something truly scary come out of someone's mouth, Borat always has the one-up on them because he's capturing their true colors on film. But with that staged scene of Borat and Azamat fleeing, you don't get that satisfaction. It's just them drumming up the worst stereotypes they can think of... and of course it's totally ridiculous, because Sacha Baron Cohen himself is Jewish and this is obviously a joke.... but it was unnerving for me to think that those stereotypes actually are out in the world, and you know that some people out there still DO believe them (Mel Gibson I'm typing in your general direction)! Don't get me wrong though, I laughed pretty damn hard through this entire sequence!

It was kind of cool the way you couldn't always tell what was staged and what wasn't. Borat is so far across the line for the majority of this movie, and it's hard to figure out if anyone else is in on the joke with him. It seemed like all the stuff in Kazakhstan, the horse falling over, the kids approaching the ice cream truck with the bear, the "Jew House," and the yard sale with the Baywatch book, must have been staged.

But what about the Pamela Anderson thing... do you think that was real or staged? I mean, they must have let her in on it, right? Right???? She definitely seemed REALLY shocked! It's certainly a better performance than we've ever seen in Barb Wire. But there was also something weird about the way she was acting in the parking lot that didn't completely ring true. And also, if she wasn't warned ahead of time... wouldn't the things Borat did to her be considered at least a felony???? Then again, a friend of a friend of mine used to work for Sacha Baron Cohen, and eventually had to quit because they were so sick and tired of getting into trouble with Johnny Law all the time! One thing's for sure though... Cohen really commits whole-heartedly to his characters!

What'd you guys think?


M-Dawgs said...

I think Pamela's involvement, or lack thereof, will forever be one of Hollywood's great mysteries, like "did Jack Palance read the wrong name?" or "who REALLY killed Nicole Brown Simpson?"

Still Laughing said...

I think she was in on it, mostly because of the way she ran around the parking lot. I think a natural, real reaction would have been for her to seek protection from one of the many security guards. It made no sense for her to be running in the lot.
But staged or not, the movie was a riot.

emma said...

good review, dude!

she was definitely in on it. i read somewhere about how she loves sacha baron cohen and how they talked about working together before this film...

i think the film would've been funnier/fresher/more outrageous to me if i hadn't seen the movie trailer or wasn't familiar with his previous sketches as borat. (sooo funny!)

Not Sinlechuga said...

"movie reviews"

Enjoying your blog immensely. POST MORE!

Food and Music Girls said...

Yes- this is definitely one of my new favorite movies. As soon as I saw it, I even wrote about it in my own blog! By the way, Adam, Little Man Tate is one of my favorite movies and as a girl, I had a bigtime crush on you! :)