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Friday, November 10, 2006


We saw Borat. Despite some laughs, we were underwhelmed and at times repulsed. There are so many rave reviews for this film, we were amazed at how juvenile and unclever it is. And that doesn't even describe what is worst about it.

Actor Cohen's schtick can be summed up in one word: disrespect. Undercover as a foreign ignoramus, he goes around making truly offensive (often racist or sexist) statements and acts before unsuspecting folks exactly in order to draw out of them either equally offensive statements or, failing that, responses of surprise, disgust, and fury. The audience of twentysomethings we were with loved it when Cohen handed his gracious dinner host a bag of what was supposed to be his own shit. Hardy har har!

Best review of the movie is here.

Is it legal to dupe people, if they sign some sort of consent form? Can a person consent to be tricked? I don't think the concepts are compatible. Cohen's targets obviously were not told the whole truth of the situation, except, one must presume, via abstract and technical legalese. So I don't know, but I doubt it should be legal.

It is definitely immoral. Cohen is professionally dishonest, and he deserves contempt. Two victims of his dishonesty are suing 20th Century Fox and other production companies involved with the film. I hope they win.

If I want to be entertained with juvenile silliness, I'll take Tommy Boy or Anchorman anyday.

UPDATE: Petzold has a good take on it.

UPDATE 2: Amy makes a good point: in
Borat, Cohen is only uncivil to people who deserve civility.



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