Time for the Stupid Is As Stupid Does Edition of TicketStub -- I'm sure you'll see why:

* Borat -- It took us a while (and not for our usual Reverse Hype Aversion reasons) but for Nat's birthday we finally went to see Borat, the day after Sacha Baron Cohen won a Golden Globe for his performance. And it is a performance, despite the haters who claim it's just a prank. It's improvisation dressed up in a well-honed character suit (or man-thong) -- SBC never breaks, yet is always shaping the scene with canny, perfectly timed lines. We marveled at how much footage they must have shot, in character, to keep the film fresh all the way through. The pacing is great-- each scene lasts just long enough so you start to squirm, but can't yet look away, and then it's on to the next. Sort of the opposite of Saturday Night Live. I am a huge fan of SBC's alter ego Ali G, and I always thought the Borat bits on that show were sort of repetitive...but somehow following Borat on his wacky American sojourn gives him a purpose and, dare I say, a measure of dignity. It's such a classic narrative that we have no doubt things will end happily, and that gives structure to the random blurtings, gropings, bear scat, and shameless nudity. The hapless Americans (and Kazhakhs, I suppose) caught on camera are like lobsters slowly boiling, looking around uncomfortably but too abashed, drunk, or thick, as the case may be, to ask aloud, "Is it hot in here, or is it just me?" It's you. Extra points for Luenell Campbell, playing an eponymous goldhearted lady of the evening, and for the immortal line about Borat's wife's vazhene, which now hangs like sleeve of wizard. (A)

* Idiocracy -- I'm counting this DVD viewing as a ticket stub, since this film was torpedoed by studio incompetence last summer. It plays fine on the small screen, and is about 12 shades too dark to be a fun matinee, so it's just as well. Simple premise: Army shlub Luke Wilson awakes from 500 years of accidental hibernation in a stupid future. Americans are all tubby dullards, smearing snack goo into their faces while grunting in delight to endless reruns of the hit show Ow, My Balls! Dust storms ravage the parched plains, garbage avalanches everywhere, and the president likes to flip everyone the bird. How exactly, you might wonder, is this different from 2007? And that's where it gets a little chilling. By Mike Judge's conceit, this dystopia results from sheer lack of contraception by the mildly impaired underclass, represented early on as Southern trailer trash. Just why all the idiots in the future look a little ethnic is unexplained, and vaguely bothersome to me -- the lone blond guy (played by cameo-bro Andrew Wilson) is a celebrity executioner. Is everyone just supposed to look unwashed? Hmmm. Anyway, Luke Wilson half-assedly solves the agricultural crisis and winds up as president...wait, is that supposed to remind us of 2007 too? Like its sibling Office Space, this film is clever enough to make a point, but it lacks the zany humor and quotability factor. It's a little slow and the fx are meager, probably also due to studio interference, but still. It's a cautionary tale, not a revenge fantasy...unless we're supposed to take revenge on the future by chucking our TVs, reading great literature, and eating more fiber henceforth. Doesn't sound too bad. (B-)

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