Rich and I saw Borat last night and I couldn’t agree more with Charles Petzold’s assessment:
If Mr. Cohen’s intent is to explore people’s reactions in intolerable situations, then it makes no sense for this movie to have scenes of Borat by himself, or with his “producer.” And yet, Mr. Cohen has obviously become so enamored of his fictional creation that the movie really becomes about Borat rather than his American victims.
I found the movie nearly intolerable myself. Excluding a few scenes that seemed pretty real (the homeboys teaching him how to dress a little more homey and the very human Lunelle and everyone’s incredible patience) Cohen’s version of “Candid Camera” was over the top, but not really in what I saw as an intellectual or enlightening way. His outrageous public behavior was just outright mean and not funny. So much commentary of the movie is about how he tricked people on camera, but the ruse goes much further. He tricked us into the movie theater to shock us too. I’m pretty liberal and extremely tolerant, but there was way more in that movie than I felt like witnessing and nearly walked out. I truly feel duped that I got lured into the theater with all of this promise of some fascinating expose of human behavior. And to top it off, I have now paid my $8 and brought my husband (who was hoping to see James Bond instead), and therefore contributed to the success of the movie. The joke has been on all of us, not just the “characters” in the movie.
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