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Funny on every single level
I just caught the matinée....perhaps the funniest movie i've ever seen. Definitely the funniest in years....what's best about it is that it is funny on every level (utilizing physicality, satire, race, topical humor, sexuality, malapropisms).
If anyone out there is under the impression that the guy is just doing a Yakov Smirnoff impression, trust me....it's a lot closer to Andy Kaufman meets Dave Letterman in their primes. When you see Sacha Baron Cohen at work, you'll see why people consider a Tom Green cheap imitation (even if he was in the mainstream first).
Another beauty of Borat is that people with overdeveloped and underdeveloped senses of humor will find this equally funny. I was actually sitting near some people who were laughing hardest at the simplest of jokes, as well as the more subtle social commentary implied through the documentary style.
Its only weakness may be the thinness of the ending of its plot , but Hitchock referred to that phenomenon as the Maguffin - meaning that if something can be successfully used to propel a plot most effectively, it should be used even if it ends up being discardable.
Of course Borat gets uncomfortable at many moments, but that's a huge part of the fun. It may definitely not be a great idea to bring little kids, but it may be the finest example of comedy in years.
Trust the Man (2005)
Probably like what Kevin Smith will be like in his 40's
first off, I am one of those people who for some reason is obsessed with the whole "woody Allen heir-apparents" thing that gets brought up anytime something combines the city life with a certain level of sophistication and self-importance with a good portion of humor - it's a monthly thing among new york media critics, of course, so is the release of such films around here.
although Noah baumbach's "squid and the whale" was a better film than this one from Bart freundlich, i find baumbach to be nowhere nearly as funny as this one and also unfortunately, pretty snobbish and/or pretentious judging from his commentary.
Some of the published reviews i've seen of "trust the man" are saying that the characters are not very likable or realistic. i disagree with that - having studied the genre. these characters are not nearly as self-involved as woody's or baumbauch's or even Ed Burns'. To my surprise, rather than being self-important or pretentious, the shrink scenes were funny and well-placed.
I still enjoy Woody films, but I think one of the reasons I liked this one was that Freundlich seemed to have at least a few great moments that were topical to the point where Woody couldn't have possibly come up with it. (one involved an email address - woody still uses a typewriter). I guess another reason is that the film was shot in several different places around the city, even if many of them are a little expensive and identical to Woody's locations, some were a bit more down to earth than I've seen in other NY-based films.
Part of the ending was particularly disappointing, even though the earlier part was satisfying. "too Preston sturges", to quote a snob.
A few sight gags I didn't care for, but most of the lowbrow humor was well-played, and that's what I was most impressed with. If Kevin Smith put this same film out in ten years, his fans, who might have matured by then, would surely enjoy it.
regardless, this one enjoyable enough for me...and I'll be checking out Freundlich in the future.
Enjoyable, subversive moments work better than Anchorman's
When I had first seen Anchorman, which was also directed by Adam McKay, I thought that the farcical improv stuff had reached too far, but I have to say, that it was that very stuff that kept me into Talladega Nights.
I have to admit that I'm not that into the old southern good ol' boy stereotypes that we often see in any pop culture reference to NASCAR and its fans, but Ferrell's script put a good deal of heart and character development beneath the silliness. Walking out out of the theater, I heard a complaint about the product placement, but in some cases, it is played perfectly from a comic perspective. I made the mistake of reading a New York Times review that ruined the most stunning moment of the film, in addition to referring to a throwaway line early on as "the single funniest joke". John C. Reilly, Sascha Baron Cohen and Gary Cole each have great supporting moments. I was particularly shocked that Cohen's accent made me laugh as it did. He was spectacular, going toe-to-toe with Ferrell on the improv front. He really is in joining that rare Peter Sellers realm, it seems. Ferrell is as great as he can possibly be in a character rooted in stereotypes. Most of all, I walked away impressed with McKay, who I really thought was too subversive to pull off a blockbuster. Anchorman was cool in that there hadn't been anything like it in the mainstream, but this takes it to another level.
Where Manhattan Murder Mystery and Match Point intersect
I'd even say some shades of Hitchcock...this is clearly better than MMM, which is seen as a guilty pleasure by some if not most Woody fans. By the way, did you know that Annie Hall was first conceived as a murder mystery? Anyhow, Woody reclaims some relevance in film comedy with this one. The plot turns are nice and tight. I will say that in the first 20 minutes or so, some of the actors are a little too hasty at delivering their lines, but stick around. Scarlett Johansson proves well-cast in the Diane Keaton-type role, and at no time is there any uncomfortable moments between her and the much older Woody. No one could imagine a more perfect actor for the role of Peter Lyman than Jackman.
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Surely touching on something big
Maybe it's because I saw the movie in what would probably be it's ideal setting...(an audience of fashionistas and gay men at a late night showing in Chelsea - I am in neither category, by the way)....anyhow, it seemed that they really touched on something with a solid lampooning of the high fashion world. The crowd was guffawing for even the oldest sight gags, which I won't spoil here. As naturally lovely as Anne Hathaway is (even when dowdy), I really resent the casting of Adrian Grenier in his role as her love interest. He is just way too much the embodiement of the female idea of the metrosexual male ideal. It was grating, and took away from the believability - as did the size of their apartment. Stanley Tucci should be commended -- His first few lines have you thinking he'll be nothing but a walking stereotype (as was much of the aforementioned crowd I was sitting amongst)...but Tucci's character was well-written and well-executed. Meryl Streep was perfect, but I can't agree with the critic's suggestion to just have made a film about her character - you need the context of the Andy character. I noticed that the audience particularly loved the Emily character...she might ring the truest to life of all of the characters.