I saw Borat. I had no intention of doing so, no real interest in the whole thing, but my boss decided we should go and watch it instead of working yesterday afternoon. I wasn’t likely to object to that.
The film was a lot better than I had been led to believe by the few reviews I’ve read. All that talk about wasted opportunities, the use of soft targets and lazy plotlines seems so dull when you are sat giggling to yourself in the cinema. There are no failed attempts at “guerilla comedy,” the situations are never “excruciatingly uncomfortable,” and for the most part the targets of the humor deserve everything they get.
The most “daring,” “subversive,” and “challenging,” scenes would be the couple that ridicule Anti-Semitism. Iâ€™ve heard said that there are people out there not “in” on this joke and that the humor could be considered reckless. This cannot be true. I have to believe that even the thickest Texan hick does not believe Jews are shape-shifters. There are no two levels to this humor, it is quite clear what is funny; Borat is so brainwashed he believes jews can morph into cockroaches, we laugh because it is absurd and thatâ€™s that. (I obviously exclude David Icke when I say this).
Mark Kermode said the film contains a lot of snide Anti-Americanism. I donâ€™t think Sasha Baron-Cohen was being Anti-American when he chose to ridicule American cretins. Every country has its share of cretins and everybody knows it. What he was doing was making his job easier by picking the worldâ€™s most vociferous. American idiots are fair game as far as I am concerned and defending them against snidey Sasha seems insulting in itself. It suggests Americans don’t have the capacity to laugh at themselves. Bush has done his best to ruin the reputation of his people; they are vilified around the world, humiliated by his every utterance, but they arenâ€™t so weak and feeble they canâ€™t still have a good laugh at all the thickies within their ranks. Neither are they so insecure they wonâ€™t let a foreigner do the ridiculing.
And the naked wrestling scene had me clutching my sides, wheezing for breath. I havenâ€™t laughed so much in ages. If this makes me as thick as the thick thickies in the film then so be it. I’d recommend it to anyone.