This weekend I, along with what seemed to be all of Lower Manhattan, went to go see Borat! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. I had been really excited to see it, having loved Da Ali G Show, but did feel a little skeptical since so many of the segments in the trailer really felt like stuff I’d seen before (or perhaps I’m imagining Borat skits in my sleep). I didn’t laugh out loud, so much as gasp in horror as to the types of embarrassing people Sacha Baron Cohen was able to find in America. Some segments were so absurd that I wondered how these people ever agreed to signing releases. And then there was that skit, that I do not ever EVER want to see again, which involved a Baywatch magazine, wrestling, and bankers.
I know much has been written about the steeped satire of the movie and the supposed brilliance of the egregiously offensive Borat character. But for me, the film felt kinda un-even, with too-short skits (nothing is left to simmer for very long–perhaps it’s difficult to find people who will say and do idiotic things for more than 5 minutes at a time), with a totally predictable ending.
I just feel bad for all those folks in Kazakhstan. After a while, all those pot-shots at the country start to feel as tired as when they make Southeast Asian people talk in exaggerated accents and drive cabs in comedies.
On the bright side, they play the Kocani Orkestar version of “Siki, Siki Baba” during the film–a song which I saw Beirut cover this summer at the Pool Parties in Brooklyn.