Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I Think I Smell A BORAT...

"We support your war of terror!" - BORAT (Sacha Baron Cohen)  

The #1 movie-film in America right now with an approval rating of 96% on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer (you know, the site that tallies up all the major reviews) BORAT: CULTURAL LEARNINGS OF AMERICA FOR MAKE BENEFIT GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN is really burning it up this season.

It does has a lot of funny moments though I personally feel much of the material would be better seen in individual YouTube clips, because even at just 84 minutes the guys routine wears a bit.

Peering in on the sold out shows at my local hometown theater where I work part-time, a drop-off in riotous laughter is strongly evident in the last third of the movie. One sequence in particular I could have done without, a nude wrestling match between BORAT (Sacha Baron Cohen) and his morbidly obese manager (Ken Davitian) that starts over a squabble in a fancy-pants hotel room and spills out into the lobby, so that the shocked public can witness of course. 

Thankfully black bars were inserted to cover the naughty bits. That's definitely he scene where my laughter dropped off. 

Being the second most hyped movie of the year (the first being SNAKES ON A PLANE) I was surprised at the critical reaction.

It's getting a lot of incredibly favorable notices remarking on the supposed sharpness of the satire and the telling socio-political statements it makes. Some examples:

"The brilliance of BORAT is that its comedy is as pitiless as its social satire and just as brainy" - Manohla Dargis (New York Times) 

"He makes us squirm until we laugh and laugh until we squirm, holding a mirror to our darkest fears and prejudices." - Bob Townsend (Alanta Journal-Constitution) 

"Evil comedy, a new genre, has arrived. The bar has been raised and is flying over everyone's head." - Victoria Alexander (FILMSINREVIEW.COM

This is a bit much. 

I mean, it does live up to the hype much more than SNAKES and it does have plenty of genuine laughs, but come on! It says more about how lame comedies have become in the last several years if this is being lauded so highly. As for all the variations on the labeling of BORAT as an "equal opportunity offender" that critics have been tirelessly making, I was offended like Jerry Seinfeld would be "as a comedian" at how easy cheap and obvious some of the lines were - for example:

Borat Sagdiyev: This is Natalya. (He Kisses her passionately) She is my sister. She is number-four prostitute in whole of Kazakhstan. (Natalya holds up a trophy and smiles) Niiice!

Yep, now that's top-line-state-of-the-art-grade-A comedy!

More later...

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