Monday, April 23, 2007


Boring. Spent most of the hour and fifteen minutes checking the time. Are we there yet, are we there yet? I'll be honest, I don't get the hype. I didn't see any clever political commentary. All I saw was a guy deliberately acting like a jerk to ordinary people. In fact, the movie was so bad that I had more respect for Sacha Baron Cohen before I actually knew what he did for a living.

Secondly, he spends most of the movie trying to play the fool for us. But wasn't the movie all about wink wink, look how I'm gonna get these people, you know who I am but these people don't? Then what was with the nude wrestling scene when there were no "other people" around? Was it for us? But we already know he isn't actually Borat. Who was it for, then? The moment the nude wrestling began, I knew it would probably end up in a public place with gratuitous goofery. Forward. On to the next scene. Only to be disappointed again.

The only humorous scene in the movie was when Bob Barr is informed that the cheese he just consumed was a product of Borat's maternal teat. For the minimalistic reaction. It wasn't very obvious, but it was there.

Are we supposed to feel shock over the fraternity boys incident? Oh please. Break into the mind of any teenaged boy anywhere in the world and you'll find an oversexed hyper-hormonic sexist beast.

Most of the movie Sacha Baron Cohen just plain grates on the nerves. Okay, we get it, falling over things and breaking them is funny. People arguing in a foreign language you don't understand is funny. Wrestling nude with a fat fuck is funny. But only if you weren't expecting "clever political commentary" or "social satire". It is funny only if you were expecting to be fed lowbrow slapstick off-the-shelf pre-packaged swill of the likes of, say, a Martin Lawrence or the Wayans clan.

Also, most of the movie involves trapping people into saying or doing things they might usually not have said or done. For example, the Chevy dealer who wanted to sell Borat a vehicle that could run over Gypsies. Or the gun dealer who showed Borat a gun for shooting Jews. Does it make the Chevy dealer anti-Gypsy or the gun dealer anti-semitic? More likely, they were just humoring the poor hapless shit-for-brains foreigner who looked clueless enough to warrant some extra patience. Or maybe they just wanted to sell guns and Hummers. Don't they say that the customer is always right? Even if he is a bigoted asshole? Was there any kind of point made through all this? I don't think so. In fact, more than anything else, this movie speaks volumes about Americans' superhuman patience and ability to tolerate a lot of asinine bullshit from someone who is clearly a registered fuckwit.

However, the biggest reason for hating this movie is because of the way it bullies the underdogs. The Kazakhs. A nation without a representative voice. Imagine if Borat were to have impersonated, say, an Indian and if he had performed the same antics. Would the Indian community in the US have taken it lying down? Hell no. Imagine the uproar it would have caused in the blogosphere, in Congress, in India. Which is why his choice of being a Kazakh looks more like a coward's way out. It is best to incur the wrath of a community no one has heard about and no one is friends with.

In conclusion, Borat didn't work for me. At all. And on an intellectual level, it was on par with reality teevee footage of people eating a writhing mass of worms. Yes, it is that bad.


ggop said...

Groan - Netflix has shipped this movie to me. I loaned it to a friend who just could not get through without cringing.

I completely agree on your point about picking on the nation no one knows about. Interestingly Kazhakstan has a very high adult literacy rate. 99.5% according to wiki. Maybe we should learn a thing or two from them and not be so hypersensitive as a nation.

Looks like Ali G show set us up with wrong expectations.

zambezi said...

there seems to be a lot of anger in you for some reason. for starters, you shouldnt have wasted your time on borat the shit head.

gawker said...

ggop : Luckily I only wasted my sunday afternoon on it, a time during which nothing else gets done anyways.

zambezi : Yes, I am angry about the bad name Borat is trying to give foreigners. Also I am angry in general. In particular, my buttocks still hurt from biking 30 miles.

Anonymous said...

I agree - Borat was over-hyped. Middle America is homophobic and xenophobic - anyone surprised ?

I do like the national anthem though.

The Ali G show is much better. Do check out the DVDs if you get a chance.

RobRoy said...

I've looked at the movie similar to watching a car crash. But not one of those car crashes that everyone wants to look at. Rather, the kind that everyone is forced to look at because it was so hyped and promoted and "hailed by critics". This is the first review that made me glad I hesitated to go with the flow . . . which I would normally prefer, because there's safety in flowing.

KP said...

finally someone else thinks the movie is absolutely kiddish and filled with
crappy humour

Anurag said...

You have actually unknowingly let out the secret reason for doping in the professional cycling community -- it is not for winning the goddamned races, they just want to dull that pain in the butt which is always there.

Bombay Addict said...

"...this movie speaks volumes about Americans' superhuman patience and ability to tolerate a lot of asinine bullshit from someone who is clearly a registered fuckwit." - I agree. In all the rah-rahs about this movie, I don't think a lot of people (or at least the reviewers) have said this, which is kinda sad, considering the movie is so desperately trying to make some kinda point about America.

I don't know why this reminds me of this exchange between Joe Pesci and Matt Damon in The Good Shepherd. Might be flag-waving or typical Hollywood or whatever, but man, it hit home. (do forgive my digression, Gawker)..

"JP: You know, we Italians have our families and the church, the Irish have the homeland, the Jews their tradition, the niggers their music. What do you guys have?

MD: The United States of America. The rest of you are just visiting."

gawker said...

bongo : That's true but the movie didn't even manage to make that point. For example the Southern dinner, everyone there came across as being warm, comforting people, the only racist jerkoff appeared to be Borat. Same goes for the Jewish couple. They were nice and Borat was a jackass.

robroy : Yes, I like watching critically acclaimed car crashes as well, and this one just didn't deserve all the acclaim it's been getting. It's like all the critics were fed some kind of kool-aid or something, the way they were all unanimous about the fantabulousness of this movie.

kappa : You said it buddy

anurag : Where can I get this dope of which you speak in such glowing terms?

BA : I know. In my humble opinion, I think after watching this movie, one would, in fact, think more highly of Americans than before. So I would say that it actually failed miserably in its objective of bringing to the fore the evils in American society. Maybe it did succeed in pointing out some homophobia and Christian kookery but like BongoPundit said, its not like we didn't already know these things exist.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more with you. Watched this movie over the weekend and still can not figure out why the movie has been so widely acclaimed. It is puerile humour, at best.

Had he tried to play this stunt in some other country, he would be lucky to get out alive....

Anonymous said...

Good to know so many people disliked this movie. How is this supposed to be an "indictment of America" when anyone in a similar situation provoked in such a moronic manner would react in some or other stupid manner? I doubt a movie such as this, ever made in any other country, would have been taken so well.

The New Yorker published a funny piece a while back:

gawker said...

sash : Exactly. And thanks for the link. Also, there was a story on the BBC how the guy took undue advantage of the village folk he filmed and that they are suing him now. Seems to me this Baron Cohen dude is kinda shady, to say the least.