Friday, December 8, 2006

Borat - You're just not funny anymore

I went to see the Borat film the other night. I've been quite a fan of Sacha Baron Cohen for a few years. Ali G was a brilliant bit of comedy writing and acting and Borat has continued the trend. As is the gay Austrian TV presenter whose name I can't remember.

Borat has been around in the UK for the last few years. At first the character was hilarious, in a cringing sort of way. But, as he has developed, we in the UK have got used to him. He presented one of the many MTV awards ceremony things, he has had weekly appearances on many TV shows and now, with his film out, he is on every chat show and every PR boosting event you can think of.

He's not a brilliantly quick and highly inventive comedy character in the way that someone portrayed by Paul Whitehouse or Stephen Fry can be. It appears that Sacha Baron Cohen has a certain quantity of, admittedly very funny, jokes that he works in to almost any number of situations that can occur. I haven't met him but I can imagine that a conversation with Jonathan Ross would have me laughing continually, providing Mr Ross was in a humorous mood of course. Every time I see him on TV his humour comes across as smart and "off the cuff", not preplanned and rehearsed, like Borat's lines.

If it's a conversation in which a wife is mentioned or his home life crops up then he can chuck in the line about the wife and how she used to be young and fit and could plough the field but, now that she is 15 her "vagine" is loose and hangs like lizard skin. Let's face it most conversations can be steered to mention a wife or a home life.

Or he can take the route of pretending to be a sympathiser with someone who holds what would usually be deemed as "extreme" views. Join up with a bunch of racists, sexists or homophobics and pretend that he agrees with them. That way we can all laugh at their views and how they are so stupid to be taken in by Borat or Sacha. And of course it's ok to laugh at them because they're racists or sexists or homophobics.

I have read reviews of the film and I have heard people talk about it and most have thought it hilarious, outrageous and the work of a true genius. Sure, there were some moments in the film when I was on the verge of dying from laughter. When he was at that "etiquette" dinner party and came back to the table after going to the toilet for example. I could ruin it for you by telling you that he came back with a bag of shit and asked what he should do with it, but I won't.

On the whole I was bored. I had seen virtually all the jokes before. There were too many times when I thought "oh, that's what he said to Jonathan Ross last week". I felt as if I had seen the whole film already, from adverts, chatshows, other people and the TV series.

I was chatting with a friend of mine the other night, a bloke who is an actor, married to an actress. They are people whose opinion on acting related stuff I value, both being trained at RADA and fairly successful. He thinks that Sacha Baron Cohen / Borat is brilliant and great improvisational comedy. I couldn't agree with him. I just see someone who has found a formula that works and is now working that formula into everything to make a large bank full of money.

Who am I to know? It's a bit like the Coldplay question for me. As far as I am concerned they have found a formula and used that to great success. There's nothing wrong with it and millions of people all over the world love their music and would disagree with me.

I prefer to see something with more soul and feeling to it. Whether that's James Brown or Phil Silvers. If Borat gets some new material and looks more spontaneous I'll be the first in the queue for the next film.

If not, then I'm sorry Mr Sagdiyev but you're just not my bag of shite.


Anonymous said...

Your talking crap,it was the funniest film Ive seen for ages

lazyOwl said...

No doubt, he has some talent. There are some controversial issues about his subjects and methods. However, I have a feeling he isn’t going to stay for long.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

I don't think the character will stick around but I reckon Sacha Baron Cohen may linger for few years yet