Something was a tad off about the chuckles that erupted in the taped-off section of media VIPs at an early press screening of Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, renegade comic Sacha Baron Cohen's new feature film. Something just a little too smug and overeager. It began just as the opening credits rolled: Done in faux naïve style, they evoked the chintziest of state-sponsored graphics and were set to a jaunty Central Asian folk-music score.
Was the laughter coming from that clutch of young New Yorker staffers? Or from Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner and his crew? It was everywhere, really, the self-satisfied chortling of an audience so antsy to demonstrate they were in on the joke that they couldn't wait for the joke itself. It was laughter that said, basically, Reminds me of my year abroad! This guy's really nailing it! And: By the way, I'm much smarter than those flyover assholes he's going to be hoodwinking for the next hour and a half, just in case anyone was wondering!