Along with about 10 million college kids, I saw Borat tonight with some friends. Despite trying to buy tickets on the Interwebs in the middle of the day, the best we could do was the 9:55 show in Daly City! Here’s my spoiler-free review:
What is the movie?
It’s funny. Laugh-out-loud funny. Kinda almost nauseating funny. Occasionally very squeamish funny. A wee bit disturbing/disgusting funny. Often uncomfortably funny. Completely politically incorrect funny. Overall, it’s just plain funny.
What isn’t the movie?
Clever, witty, deep, sensitive, brilliant, hysterical, thoughtful, or hygienic (according to IMDB, “The suit Sacha Baron Cohen wears when playing Borat has deliberately never been cleaned.”).
But it might just have you fall out of your seat laughing. If you just want to have a good time, and you can deal with 90-odd minutes of silly, then go see it. It’s just that simple.
Mini-spoilers follow from this point (nothing to ruin a scene, but I will mention some scenes by name/location).
After seeing the movie, which is almost entirely made up of “real” people reacting to Borat’s antics (which are far beyond politically incorrect, they are almost humanly incorrect), my friends and I debated which scenes (if any) were real and which were staged. In my book, all of the following were, in some part, staged:
- Driving lessons (reason: too many camera angles from inside the car, implied the scene was filmed multiple times)
- Elevator scene, but only the last guy in it, the rest might be real (reason: too “classic” a scene, felt very scripted)
- Frat boys (reason: however stupid they may be, these particular youths seemed like they were intentionally saying over-the-top harsh comments)
- Dinner (reason: again, too much of it seemed too perfect, the reactions were exactly what Cohen would have wanted. either they filmed a few dozen dinners with different groups, or this was staged)
- Subway (reason: just too ridiculous, even for New York)
I have a few others, but to describe them would give away too many details, and it’s not that important anyway. I did a little research (aka Googling) and found some other neat tidbits:
- An interview with one of the feminists, and how she got duped by Borat.
- An awful attempt to be funny by a CNN reporter, which fails miserably.
- A television producer got fired for putting Borat on the show. I feel bad for the producer, but maybe she’ll do a little more research in her work in the future. For example, Googling the name Borat might’ve saved her her job.
- A Newsweek article with numerous quotes and interviews with the “real” people in the movie.
- Some Germans got offended about gypsy references.
I’ll say this much – whether real or staged, it’ll make you laugh (if you want a more in-depth review, this one’s pretty good). It’s not getting anywhere near my DVD collection (although maybe in Blu-Ray… hmm…) as I think it is completely unrewatchable, but that’s okay. Kudos to Cohen for creating Borat, staying in character, and visiting the US and A.