Sunday, November 12, 2006


2006, US, directed by Larry Charles

Rating: ***

While I can't help but admire those who sit down and write up 1,200 word reviews of Borat complete with an analysis of the film's distinctly Jewish sensibility, I can't help thinking that Borat wouldn't mind deflating such work given half a chance. After all, if you think a movie is funny, just say so. The film is uproarious - even when audiences are wincing at some of the material - but it's not going to change the world, and it doesn't contain evidence of much beyond tremendous comic chutzpah on the part of Sacha Baron Cohen. After all, even if they haven't been strung together in 80-minute form before, many of the jokes are familiar to those who've seen Borat's British and American TV appearances; the thin additional plot isn't a major innovation. For every Bible-thumpin', rifle-shootin' racist homophobe the filmmakers manage to turn up (not, let us say, the most innovative of satirical targets), they also inadvertently emphasise, time and again, that most people (in this case Americans, but the original targets were Brits) are polite and hospitable folk who bend over backwards to accommodate an unusual guest. In the end, it's best not to look too long or hard at the social satire, or indeed the somewhat queasy methods by which the spontaneous materials were acquired, but sit back and enjoy some bad-taste comedy in the dark of a packed movie theatre.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States