Sunday, August 9, 2015

Borat: Cultural Learnings of American for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)

Yesterday, I finally caught up with the rest of the world and saw Borat, 9 years late. Strange experience, viewing it long after it became a high school meme, when fellow school mates (mostly guys) annoyed the hell out of everyone with their repeated exclamations of "very nice, how much!"

And the movie itself was quite funny; had I seen it earlier, I'd probably be one of those quoting idiots (Oh, who am I kidding; I was one of those quoting idiots; it was that prevalent, like how Napoleon Dynamite (2004) was inescapable in Middle School). Again, it was a bit disorienting, see it years after the media hullaballoo that surrounded it: the interviews, the quoting, the infamous bare-ly there swimsuit, and all that suing. Now that the smoke has dissipated, I can now see why it pissed off so many people, including all of Kazakhstan, and was so highly regarded by critics.

The latter is partially due to its humor, and partially because it's a genuinely amusing satire of  the Bush Jr. days, when America was very diffidently "fuck ya!" after 9/11. Kinda like Team America: World Police (2004),  Borat takes aim at the foibles and ignorance of American Culture, milking laughs from an outrageous outsider's perspective, and showing up snobs and bigots in the process when they partake, intentional or not, in very politically incorrect banter.

Would I rewatch it again? Maybe, if it was on TV; it did make me laugh, after all, despite its dry spells, which is more than many other, longer comedies have done.

In conclusion, I'm glad I finally saw this very funny movie.

Things I found particularly humorous: The very Soviet credits. Borat's commentary during the Kazakhstan scenes. The unsuccessful attempts to get intimate with aggressive and/or fleeing New Yorkers. Successful attempts to party at the gay pride parade (foreshadowing of BrĂ¼no)? The nude wrestling. Travels across America with a bear tied up in the back of an ice cream truck, and a chicken stuffed in a suitcase.

Accidentally? Feminist rating: Borat continually objectifies woman to a beyond-absurd degree, but the women themselves come off comparatively well, with the interviewed feminists, Borat's prostitute date, and Pamela Anderson somehow managing to hold onto their dignity.

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