The opening night finally arrived and Sacha Baron Cohen's second movie actually lived up to all of the hype. This film is a great piece of cinematic irreverence and it will easily fit in among the great comedy classics. The movie actually delivers everything you could want for your movie buck, laughs upon laughs, romance, tears, and even a few chills.
Normally I am not the type to buy in to a publicity storm such as what accompanied this movie, but as I have been a long time fan of Cohen and especially his Borat character, I braved the opening night crowd to be one the first to see this film and it was worth it. It is an extremely funny movie and adults of all ages were in stitches throughout the rows, the entire theater was laughing nearly continuously from the opening to, and including through the rolling of the credits.
Thankfully having seen many of the Borat sketches from the Ali G show, I was not disappointed to see them rehashed in this movie. It was mostly original material, though you may recognize many of the jokes from his interviews on CNN, Conan, and The Daily Show.
By way of offering a small amount of criticism, I felt that the humor lost some of the complexity as it had from the show and I did feel that Cohen was pandering to the lowest denominator most of the time. The jokes felt at times a bit easy. Whether it was from lack of effort or simply to attract a larger audience, this incarnation of Borat did not require its viewers to think too deeply. In many ways, the first movie, Ali G, was a more intelligent film. Yes that is what I said, Ali G is smarter.
However, this simple style might have been refreshing in a way as the greatest laughs came from the scene that was the easiest to find hilarious. I'll say nothing more than if you look closely, (and I don't recommend it) even Sacha, for the fist time I have ever seen, cannot maintain a straight face underneath that massive . . . well I won't give it away.
The only other weak point of this movie was its soundtrack, which seemed, at times, almost attached at the last minute as if as an after thought. The Kazakhstani music was much better than the American songs and it was unfortunately extremely limited. This was surprising since the music in Ali G was one of its strongest features.
I will say in comparison to Ali G, as a movie script, this is a much stronger film. It is clear that Cohen either has gathered a stronger production team or has himself become better at making a well-rounded movie. Where Ali G began to flounder and sputter in the latter half, Borat actually gains momentum to a crescendo that is almost symphonic by comparison. Borat smoothly travels the established and tested format of a successful film and by the time the credits roll nearly every body in the theater remained in their seat watching the credits begging for more.
If you are the type to be easily offended, I do not recommend this movie. Its mock anti-Semitism is extreme and if you don't realize that Cohen is Jewish and being ironic, you might find it harsh. My favorite scene was the bed and breakfast and if you can get past the joke, you will see we are laughing at the fear of Jews rather than the other way around, which is quite brilliant if you ask me. That said the treatment of women can also be rather hard to swallow and you might hear laughs in the audience, which cause their date to look over with a shocked eye. This might be intentional to expose that kind of suppressed prejudice and in this case, the joke is on those members of the audience. This is especially true when you see the idiotic drunken misogynists later.
Finally, if youâ€™re a fan of Cohen you'll be happy to hear that based on the success of this film the third and final character from the Cohen repertoire, Bruno, is a go for the silver screen. Rumor has it the offer is already 42 million for worldwide distribution rights though nothing has begun as far a scripting or preproduction. This, along with the success that Borat is sure to reap, must make Sacha Baron Cohen a very happy and wealthy man.
WORLD - CULTURE
Copyright © 2010 Charles Harmison
"Wow Wow Wee Wa, It's Nice"
Copyright © 2010 Charles Harmison
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