Merrick was indahouse once, and got thrown out…
Here’s a look at a new movie from Sasha Baron Cohen (“Ali G”). It's called BORAT; this Cohen character is a TV journalist from Kazakhstan.
The film is directed by Larry Charles – Executive Producer of THE TICK, a writer & Supervising Producer on SEINFELD, a director of CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, and a writer on ENTOURAGE. As far as I’m concerned, Cohen + Charles = a pretty interesting set of credentials.
X-Ray Cat caught a screening of a BORAT work print last night, and was kind enough to tell us about it.
Here’s X-Ray Cat…
Hey, this is X-Ray Cat, I wrote a so-so review of NACHO LIBRE a couple weeks back. Tonight I saw a work print screening of Sasha Baron Cohen's new Ali G spin-off BORAT. Like most people, Borat is my favorite of Cohen's characters, so I was pretty excited about this one except for the whole Todd Phillips incident.
If you don't know, Phillips dropped out as director early on after an incident at a rodeo supposedly got out of control. I like Todd's stuff so I gave him the benefit of the doubt, and wondered if maybe Cohen had gone too far. Plus his replacement, Larry "The Other Larry" Charles, didn't instill a lot of confidence. I like his work on "Seinfeld" but I had such a lukewarm reaction to MASKED & ANONYMOUS that I didn't bother finishing it. So anyway, what did I think? Todd Phillips fucked up, and Cohen and Charles are goddamn geniuses.
BORAT isn't just a funny way to kill some time. It's a comedy classic that people will still be showing their friends in 20 years. I don't want to give away any of the sequences, because the unpredictable nature of the movie is a huge part of what makes it so hilarious, but rest assured that there are some scenes that belong in the record books, and at least three or four of the most shocking pranks ever put on film.
The story involves the Kazakhstan government sending Borat, his producer, and a documentary crew to America to learn important lessons from the greatest country in the world. Along the way, Borat becomes much more interested in locating, marrying, and taking the virginity of Pamela Anderson. Instead of using the story as a framing device for Borat's interviews, everything is meshed together, so real people end up becoming characters and plot devices.
Although Cohen pulls off some of the bravest, craziest shit I've seen in a while, he never crosses the line (although some of the other people in the audience disagreed), and the only people who come off looking bad are the various racist homophobe assholes he meets and gives just enough rope to hang themselves with. In fact, Borat is a sympathetic and likable character, and he actually gets an emotional moment here and there.
If Warner Bros. is pushing this as a wide release, I'm worried that they'll cave and take out some of the more objectionable chunks of the movie. After all, there's graphic male nudity, extensive racial slurs, endless sexual innuendo, and general political incorrectness all around. Most of the audience was laughing as hard as I was, but they mostly seemed to be familiar with the character and with that kind of comedy. Some of the uninitiated seemed squeemish. If this came out this Friday unchanged from how I saw it tonight, I guarantee that it will make waves in the geek community. This DVD belongs on the same shelf as BLUES BROTHERS and SPINAL TAP. It's that fucking funny.