Friday, July 10, 2009

Sasha Baron Cohen: Genuis or Joke?

Today has an article titled, "Is Sasha Baron Cohen Genuis or Gimmick?" that was pretty interesting to read.

Two movie reporters debate back and forth the merits of SBC's comedy in general and his new film, Bruno, specifically. The debate was actually surprisingly good.

I've never been an SBC fan--I don't really go for shock jock/gross out/guerilla-style on-the-street comedy. I've never seen the point of the "man on the street" interview-style comedy where they find some stupid mope with underlying issues (racism, homophobia, xenophobia, or some other type of inbred ignorance) and then set them up so the rest of us can laugh at them. What does this accomplish? Those who know that those attitudes and actions are wrong could laugh at (and show disdain and/or contempt) for these people without them being in a movie (and we probably do). And the people who don't know it, won't get the joke. He isn't hightening the collective consciousness of the people (which one of the guys on was arguing for). He's going for cheap laughs, very cheap laughs, and I don't find that to be genius. I find it stupid.

My favorite quote from the article was this:
"And frankly, I don't think Cohen's humor is as outrageous as he thinks it is. Sticking a toy car in your anus just to see the X-ray like they did in the "Jackass" movie is outrageous. Divine eating dog poop at the end of "Pink Flamingos" is outrageous. Getting sideswiped by a naked Asian gangster with a crowbar who jumps out of your trunk like in "The Hangover" is outrageous. Setting up a bunch of pompous celebrities or below-average-intelligence people in a controlled environment in which they're almost guaranteed to have a certain anticipated reaction is simply stacking the deck."

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