Saturday, March 10, 2007

Borat: Grade F


Borat (2006)

Sacha Cohen (also co-wrote). Director Larry Charles.
(In Hebrew, Armenian, and English, subtitled).

I tried to think of a reason to pass this movie even with a D-, and I couldn’t. It is a mockumentary of a reporter from Kazakhstan who travels to America. Unaware of customs, he says and does outrageous things. Some of the scenes are in a candid-camera or Michael Moore spirit, where he violates social norms and the camera catches the shock and horror of Americans trying to be polite and helpful to the foreigner. Other scenes are clearly manufactured and not the least bit funny. There are some slightly satirical moments, such as when he interviews and offends a group of humorless feminists. But mostly it is just crude, pre-adolescent remarks about sex, nudity, homosexuality, body functions, and so on. These references would be funny for children between 6 and 14 (or people with the minds of children), but who is really the target audience? It’s a very popular movie, so I am afraid to know. Borat announces that his sister is a prostitute and that he has had sex with his mother in law. Titillating! He shows pictures of his family, including his frontal-naked grown son. What a scream. “I like sex. Is nice!” Hilarious. There is one extended scene where he wrestles with and chases his fat old male friend through a hotel, and that could have been a daring cinematic first, except that there are black and pixilated censorship covers over the butts and genitals. What is the message? We are naked men, but don’t look? I wasn’t offended by this movie, I just didn’t get it. Sorry.

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