BoratYou knew the love feast about Borat had to end. The film has grossed more than $100 million, and audiences seem to find entertaining the news stories about the non-actors who were deceived about the film in which they appeared. Lawsuits? Angry bystanders? It's all part of the fun of the film, right? That Sacha Baron Cohen sure fooled those folks into revealing their inner prejudices. But the after-party hangover is starting to set in. George Saunders's "Borat: The Memo" essay in The New Yorker is a very funny way of pointing out that the film isn't all it appears to be, and that perhaps the portrayal of the misled non-actors is not quite fair. He also notes the inconsistency of the inflammatory and offensive remarks uttered by Cohen's alter-ego Borat during the film.

At the same time, an article in the LA Times (registration required, sorry) points out the difficulties that Universal will have with Bruno, Cohen's follow-up film to Borat. The lawsuits being filed by unhappy people appearing in Borat are against Fox -- if the same thing happened in Bruno, Universal could face similar legal threats. However, as the article notes, you have to wonder how many people are going to fall for this kind of trick again. Borat isn't just spreading humor; it's spreading distrust against unknown filmmakers. I feel sorry for small-time documentary filmmakers, who are going to have to work twice as hard to convince their subjects that the interview is on the level and that they're not actually shooting a mock-documentary that will make fun of the people on-camera. Many people are going to think twice before appearing on camera, and hopefully will read those contracts and disclaimer forms a little more carefully now. Plus, the word is out: This time we know that a Bruno film is being made, and we know what Bruno looks like. Cohen will either have to use actors, or find people who have been living under a rock.

[via Movie City News and Hollywood Elsewhere]
categories Movies, Cinematical