Well, I’ve managed to pepper my week with more social activities now my evenings are more free, and last night I went to see Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan with a couple of friends.
Hmm, where to begin. None of our wives were interested in going, not particularly enjoying the humour of any of Sacha Baron Cohen’s characters (perhaps it’s mostly a bloke thing), and given how raw some elements of the film were in comparison to his TV escapades, I’m quite glad they stayed at home because I doubt they would have approved. As a film, it finds where the boundaries are in comedy, then tears right through them before making offensive comments about their mother. The sheer level of inappropriateness in the situations Borat gets into are equally likely to make you cringe as belly laugh, often both at the same time. One particular part (and I won’t spoil it for you since the shock factor is certainly an element) is absolutely, utterly revolting, but I was literally crying with laughter throughout too.
It’s offensive, inappropriate, sexist, racist, anti-semitic, almost every aspect of political correctness torn to the tiniest of shreds - and that’s the essence of the comedy, even if you do feel slightly guilty for finding it so damn funny. I think that in an age where everyone is constantly under pressure to avoid offending this or that minority group, Borat ‘unintentionally’ blundering right into all of them, unscripted and with real, unsuspecting people to bounce the comments off, is very liberating to watch. For one thing, I’m sure the only reason he can get away with the amount of Jewish jibes in that film is that he (Cohen) is Jewish himself, and the bit at the end - either that was staged (although quite why the person involved would have agreed I don’t know) or I don’t know how Cohen avoided getting arrested.
One of the most eye-opening things is not Borat himself but the reactions of others. He covers all the major American sterotypes, the ultra-right wingers, the frat boys, the evangelists etc but when Borat says something completely offensive, it’s a little shocking when the unsuspecting ‘straight man’ doesn’t disagree, or sometimes even agrees wholeheartedly. Scary. Ultimately behind the comedy is a message - that these people Borat meets are real, and many of them are really predjudiced, and that associating those views with a clueless imbecile and exposing them for the shallow and laughable element that they are, actually makes you think about your own potential predjudices even while chuckling at the more extreme manifestation of it. So clever, in a very overtly dumb way I think.
Definitely worth watching provided you aren’t of a sensitive or easily offended disposition. 😀You might want to view the trailer on YouTube.