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October 26, 2006 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-10-26

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THE RSC MAKES I*
REVIEW, PAGE 3B.
The
'intelligence'
of dumb
comedies
t t ust when I thought
you couldn't get any
dumber, you go and do
something like this ... and totally
redeem yourself!"
So Lloyd, of "Dumb and Dumb-
er," says to Harry after the latter
exchanges their dog-shaped van
(exterior-upholstered) for a one-
man scooter. In comedic terms,
Harry
has
traded
the open
slapstick
of the w
Shaggin'
Wagon
for a rel-
atively KRISTIN
subtler
and MACDONALD
much
more awkward gag - two men
squashed close on a too-small bike.
Critics be damned: "Dumb and
Dumber" showcases two of the
funniest hours ever put on film, so
perhaps it's appropriate that the
recent shift in modern (popular)
comedy has followed Harry's
course. Though the days of obvi-
ous frat-boy goofiness are only
dwindling (not quite gone), the
wiser social consciousness and
flagrant discomfiture of today's
best TV comedy is starting to
make its way to the big screen.
Case in point: next week's new
release, "Borat." Harry might not
have gotten a good deal in his
trade, but current audiences cer-
tainly have.
Recent displays of socially
minded comedy run along the
lines of "The Daily Show with
John Stewart" and "The Colbert
Report," touting their open mock-
ery of typical TV news conven-
tions. Sacha Baron Cohen brings
a more fictional element to the
style with his "Da Ali G Show," in
which, like the "The Daily Show,"
Cohen stages humorously awk-
ward interviews with real politi-
cal figures by essentially playing
dumb. His invented personas,
however, are even more ridiculous
than Jon Stewart's crew of smugly
know-it-all reporters, each as
foul-mouthed as they are earnest-
ly ignorant and sporting a flagrant
political incorrectness that often
leaves their interviewees stunned
and stammering.
It's Cohen's Borat who's com-
ing to theaters, a simpleton from
a small Kazakh village whose
enthusiasm for America leads him

to make a documentary while
touring the country. Though the
film is actually billed as a mocku-
mentary, with both Borat and his
random assortment of interview
subjects unaware of the full scope
of their unintentional comedy,
some of the movie's unscripted
events rocket so far into the realm
of the surreal that to lump the
film in with Christopher Guest's
carefully tailored style of mocku-
mentary is to do injustice to the
integrity of both.
If "Borat" has any actual fam-
ily among contemporary film,
it's "Jackass." Borat may be the
main character, but his movie is
more about watching Sacha Baron
Cohen play the trump card of his
foreigner's "different culture" to
humiliate and infuriate innocent,
well-meaning onlookers. From
his bathroom etiquette lesson
at a Southern socialite's dinner
party (literally, she instructs him
on how to use a bathroom) to his
naked romp through a hotel's con-
vention center (with an equally
naked male co-worker), "Borat"
pushes boundaries you didn't
even know you had, as if Cohen
See MACDONALD, page 2B

TS DEBUT

WHY 'GARDEN STATE' IS ONLY GOOD SET TO 'TIP DRILL.' PAGE 5B.
B
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2006

What better way to celebrate mod-
ern pop culture than by creating
your ownserial piece of it? That's
the mentality behind the newsstands' cur-
rent crop of culture magazines - and we're
not talking about Entertainment Weekly.
These guys are all about thick paper, matte
covers, haute layout design. They offer
their back issues for sale. They go beyond
their fashion features; they are themselves
lessons in style. You're not going to find
them at the grocery store, either.
With most based in London, New York
or Los Angeles, "culture" magazines come
off as unapologetically mod, somewhat
European and definitely metropolitan.
Marketed as entertainment along with
information, they have a lighter approach,
favoring topics along the lines of futuristic

style, political discontent, eccentric celeb-
rities, offbeat world cultures, incongruous
fashion pairings, deconstruction of the
banal and street art of any kind. They're
not necessary - they're just fun.
Even their ads are engaging. Flaunt
Magazine's back page, listing the featured
merchandise of its fashion spreads, is
titled "Buy Curious." Bon magazine offers
a two-page "Where's Waldo"-style ad for
Absolut vodka. Flaunt also boasts the best
public service announcement this side of
the Atlantic: a notice about the dangers of
forest fires from the Joshua Tree Cham-
ber of Commerce, and it doesn't involve
Smokey the Bear. A smoldering drag queen
lays sprawled wide-eyed and horrified in
the middle of the desert. "Fires are a real
drag," the caption reads.

But the high-end magazine business,
it's a hard to remain profitable - even the
venerable Life couldn't stay in the black.
Culture magazines, then, sell themselves
on the freshness and individuality of their
personal approach, funneling the world
of high art, hip fashion and only the most
stylish of music and movies through the
lens of their proudly elitist view.
Take the brand-spanking new and admi-
rably specific Lemon Magazine, billing
itself as "Pop Culture With a Twist," which
declares on its website that the magazine
will "stake its claim at the intersection of
'60s/'70s pop and 21st century hyper-cul-
ture." Every issue spins this impressive
mission statement around a single, all-con-
suming theme - with an emphasis on all-
consuming. Literally every page of Lemon's

current issue embraces the magazine's lov-
ing tribute to espionage's pulpy noir style.
Most of these magazines take a broader
view of things. In fact, along with their
shared passions for unwearable avant-
garde fashion (littering page after fasci-
nating page) and healthy doses of sex (Bon
magazine used the three-letter word so
much in its cover article on Justin Timber-
lake that it might as well have interviewed
Jenna Jameson), many of these publica-
tions share an almost fetish-like love for
the whimsical. Flaunt jumps charmingly
from the Black Panthers' 40th anniversary
to a Dutch artist known for reinventing her
country's traditional Delft ceramics into
an appreciative essay on "ass-kickers
See MAGAZINE, Page 4

ILIST
Oct, 26 to 30
A weekly guide
to who's where,
what's happen-
ing and why you
should be there.
Here are the
week's best bets.

AT TEA
It'll be just like having dinner with
the real Queen Elizabeth II. Well,
kind of. Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m.,
The Michigan Theater will host high
tea in the restored Grand Foyer of
the venue in honor of the release of
"The Queen," starring Helen Mirren.
Sunday's screening will be at 4:30
p.m. - prefaced by tea, biscuits and
such - but the regal biopic officially
opens tomorrow night. Mirren's per-
formance is already garnering raves.
Regular ticket prices are $6-$8.50.

IN THE 'D'
The highly anticipated Muse-
um of Contemporary Art Detroit
(MOCAD) will celebrate its debut
with a gala opening tonight at 8
p.m. Pay the steep price ($125-135 a
person, food and drink provided) to
preview "Meditations In an Emer-
gency" before everyone else at 6 p.m.,
or contribute $45 in advance/$55 at
the door with the regular folk. Ann
Arbor's Matt Dear and Ryan Elliot
(Spectral Sound) from Ghostly Inter-
national will man the afterparty.

ON SCREEN
Just in time for Halloweekend: M-
Flickswilllscreentheclassic"Batman
Returns" Saturday night at 8 p.m. at
the Natural Science Auditorium. Not
only will you get to watch Michelle
Pfeiffer as Catwoman, Danny Devito
as the Penguin and Michael Keaton
as filmdom's original Batman, M-
Flicks will host a costume contest
at the showing. And the film will
end just in time for that first party.
Admission is free and prizes will be
awarded for best dressed.

AT THE PIG
The Bang! is back for its annual
Halloween-themed fete at The Blind
Pig Saturday night. Aside from its
usual fare (concerts, the occasional
karoake contest), the Pig hosts The
Bang! about once a month. Jeremy
Wheeler's rock'n'roll dance party is
best known for its holiday event,s and
Halloween is no exception - actu-
ally, Halloweekend here is definitely
tops in the our book. Cheap PBR,
werewolf suits and Prince songs?
We're already there.

i

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