Mean Girl to the Rescue!

How'm I gonna save the world when the world ain't ready?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I have a confession to make:

I hated Borat.

I kind of knew I would. Booby spent I don't know how long infusing his brain with Da Ali G Show when they ran a marathon of it on HBO recently, and when I came into the room, I could stand about 10 minutes of it before I pleaded with him to turn it off. So I had an inkling that I wouldn't think it was the Best Movie EVAR!!! or anything.

The whole thing seemed pretty mean-spirited to me. Borat is a nasty man in so many unfunny ways: he objectifies women, he smashes up a small antique store (but not until we're informed that the proprietor is selling Confederate merchandise, so I guess that makes it OK), and he is patently awful to the sweetest little Jewish couple who own a B&B where he and his handler stay the night.

I recently listened to a discussion of the movie on NPR that touched on the anti-Semitism that's fairly rampant throughout the film. Apparently, this isn't meant to be offensive, rather, it's supposed to skewer some people's absurd perceptions of Jews (for example, that they're evil money-grubbers with horns. Yes, horns.). I don't know if the film really does that, though. A lot of the people in the audience were confused by this portrayal, so I don't know if they got the joke. They laughed, but it was confused laughter. There was a lot of that going around - laughter borne of confusion and the knowledge that this was supposed to be funny, so we should laugh, right?

I laughed maybe two or three times. The rest of the theatre was in an uproar.

There was also a lot of misogyny, which I expected, because we all know that women are fair game, and that this is a movie essentially designed for men. And there was a painful storyline in which Borat quests to travel to Hollywood so he can marry Pamela Anderson. I think that might have worked better if it were still 1993 and Pammy were still relevant.

The thing that surprises me most is that every review of this movie has given it five stars. FIVE STARS. Like it's a masterwork or something. I can see why people find it humorous, and I'm aware that I'm in the minority (a minority that is likely being accused of having its panties on too tight), but five stars? Come on.

Am I the only one who didn't enjoy this movie? What did you guys think?


At 5:20 PM, Blogger toyfoto said...

I haven't seen the movie yet, (nor am I likely to until it comes out on video) but I think I'll feel similarly.

I've seen the Ali G. Show (several times) and must admit that the first time I saw it I thought it was funny. But after a while it was just painful to watch people being tricked into making asses of themselves.

I think Sasha Baron Cohen is terribly talented though, and I hope he finds a way to channel his creativity with less overt meanness.

At 11:50 PM, Blogger Blondie said...

I don't think he's funny--never have. And now every day I see articles about him on Yahoo. I'm sick of hearing about it. I'm glad to see this post because I totally agree with you. Not funny. Dumb.

At 4:41 PM, Blogger Tink said...

I haven't seen Borat, don't want to, and I'm sick of all the media play on it. Like those two college brats that supposedly were duped into drinking and then bashing women? Yeah ok.

At 8:42 PM, Blogger Katherine said...

I have to say that I have purposely not seen the movie. I've seen the guy - in the Borat character - on several talk shows and was so not impressed. Didn't find him funny at all. But then, I don't really find "stupid" humor or humor at someone else's expense funny anyway.

At 2:48 AM, Blogger The Big Pugawug said...

so. fucking. hilarious.

and I also really got a kick out of the Departed, which we finally saw tonight (thanks, mom, for babysitting 2 weekends in a row).

Lest you think we're party-parents, those are 2 of the 3 movies we've seen in 2006 (the other one being Little Miss Sunshine). Enjoy them now, before the babe comes (or even before the thought of spending 2 hours in a movie-theater seat makes your bladder ache).

At 5:56 PM, Anonymous TB said...

I think Sacha Baren Cohen is a genius because to me, it is always the real people he interviews or interacts with that make me laugh the most. The guys at the rodeo? Good lord they are real people. And the uptight, ethnocentric southern baptists? They deserved everything they got.

That said, I think his funniest character isn't Borat, he sort of beats you over the head with the stereotypes. But the gay Austrian fashion reported is hilarious.

At 10:12 PM, Blogger Mignon said...

I haven't seen it, probably because of the hype. I'm anti-hype. But I have adopted your reasons to dislike it as my own and have used them two occasions. Thanks!

At 9:31 AM, Blogger Arabella said...

I had the opportunity to see it, but opted for _Running with Scissors_ instead, which I recommend. Good film, better book, in my opinion.

At 7:58 AM, Anonymous booby said...

I felt that this film was totally over the top in many ways that were just completely wrong.

That said, I laughed until I cried when Borat and his producer wrestled. I believe that it was one of the most profoundly awesome uses for male nakedness on screen since Lars Von Trier's The Idiots...

At 4:36 PM, Anonymous rell said...

I just stumbled upon your blog on Borat and I understand your views and opinions. However, I think people need to know that this whole movie is satire. It is intended to point out how stupid people really are. I find it rather sad. Like you said, he does objectify women, and he does run from a cute little B&B, but that's all just fill to show how nasty americans can be to one another. You forgot to mention the scene at the rodeo, where that intolerant bastard spewed his beliefs. It is so scary that people like that are out there!

Thanks for letting me share.

At 3:45 PM, Blogger Tits McGee said...

Well, sweetie, I haven't yet seen the movie, but I intend to, and expect to both laugh and cringe my ass off. I love Sacha Baron Cohen and am a huge fan of his HBO show. I think his ability to catch people at their unguarded worst is just genius.

Cohen is Jewish, and the point of his work (aside from making people laugh), particularly with the Borat character, is to get people to reveal their biases. Check out this interview, one of the few I've heard him give where he's not in character. The fact that some people going to see the movie laugh at Borat's mysogyny, racism, and anti-Semitism rather than at the mysogynists, racists, and anti-Semites he interviews is disturbing, but doesn't it reveal something important about our culture?

At 9:06 PM, Blogger meno said...

Joining in late, came here from mignon because i like the name of your blog.
I just saw Borat. I only went to see it because of the reviews i heard on the radio from reviewers who normally hate everything, but loved this.

I thought is was really stupid. I may have laughed a few times, but mostly i was bored. I am sorry that i spent money to support it, but at least it was matinee price.

At 12:12 AM, Anonymous Matt Zimmerman said...

Hey, haven't talked to you in a while. You're pregnant? Thanks for telling me ;-)

I liked Borat a lot. I like Ali G and Bruno better, but Borat was pretty funny. Like Booby, I really thought was going to pass out when Borat and his producer were wrestling. I had to look away from the screen and catch my breath. I really was worried.

Apparently there is a Bruno movie in the works which should be better. I still like Ali G the best of this three characters.


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