a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Saturday, November 25, 2006


So I finally saw Borat, and I was a bit underwhelmed.

I generally liked a lot of it, and there were times I laughed a lot, but maybe it was the hype, or the fact that the commercials had given away so many of the funny moments, but I thought I'd be a lot more entertained than I was.

I was also distracted throughout by the odd construction of the whole film. Basically it is just an excuse for the setpieces in which he acts oddly in front of "real" people, to capture their reaction to the character, his attitudes and his behavior. But many of these setpieces felt contrived, manipulated just to fit into the storyline, from the prostitute just happening to show up at the house, to the college kids just happening to drive by in an RV, to the whole obviously-fake Pamela Anderson sequence.

Even the framing device didn't hold together that well for me. The idea is supposed to be that they are going across America, filming this movie, so obviously they have a cameraman with them, but they never refer to him at all. When the producer leaves, and Borat is alone... clearly he's not alone.

I know, one isn't supposed to take anything here literally. But rather than get caught up in the story here, or the story-within-the-story, or the story-within-the-story-within-the-story, they just kept bumping heads a bit too much for me.

For whatever reason, I liked the very-similar-in-many-ways Jackass 2 much more. Maybe it's just me.

Still, I did laugh, and I had to keep shushing my wife, who was being too loudly outrageously amused.

Within a few days, the movie will have passed the $110 million barrier. Amazing.

I fear that we are doomed to see a lot of projects try to imitate its success, with greatly diminishing returns.


At 10:24 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

I'm with your wife, I laughed my dopey ass off as my own wife looked at me with a frown. This isn't the kind of movie to shush someone, let them have a blast.

Having said that, I agree with your notes 100%. Still, what a hoot.

At 3:00 AM, Blogger Formerly, The Dude Spoke said...

I agree with you, Scott. I think the ads gave too many jokes away, along with idiots in the street re-creating it. (I include my own friends in this group). And I think the sheer creativity behind Jackass 2 pushes it ahead. Don't get me wrong, I quite enjoyed Borat, almost lost bladder control at that wrestling scene. But it's not the end all be all of comedy.

Do you think this will encourage more films like it, or do you think people might be a little less willing (and more suspicious) of random folks with cameras coming up to them? I like to think the latter, but I've been proven wrong.

From time to time.

At 7:04 AM, Blogger Brett said...

I guess I'm the weird guy in the mix, but where I was once (initially) curious about BORAT, as the hype machine has gone into SuperDuperExtreme HyperOverDrive, I've become less and less interested. Now I can hardly wait to not care.

As for whther or not the movie might spawn a rash of stepchildren... are you suggesting that Hollywood might try to rush a slew of ill-conceived rip-offs and wannabee BORATs?


Now, if you'll excuse me, my tongue just bruised the inside of my cheek....

At 6:27 AM, Blogger Thomas Crymes said...

With Borat, I did laugh a lot, but I couldn't tell if it was genuine laughter or the kind of nervous laughter you get from witnessing some embarrassing event. The wrestling match is a prime example.

My wife said she laughed because she didn't know what else to do. I might have winced more than laughed.

I did laugh, but I fear for my soul. I guess I don't like the idea of exploiting others against their knowledge for comedy. Not a big fan (OK maybe just a little) of Ali G . . . or the Jerky Boys.

At 12:30 PM, Anonymous Dave R. said...

The prostitute didn't just happen to stop by he ordered her.

At 3:52 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

I have a feeling they chose her well ahead of time (whether she is or isn't a prostitute, they "cast" her for the part) and that the call we see him making is fake.


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