CATEGORIES Action, Comedy, Drama, Casting, New Releases, Celebrities and Controversy, Images, Movie News, New Releases, CinematicalCatching an afternoon screening of Iron Man last weekend, the questionably denigrating representations of Afghani villains bugged me less than the bizarre cultural references in the trailers preceding it -- especially when it came to accents. Three previews in a row contained characters speaking intentionally mangled English, a fact all the more recognizable because all of them were played by well-known actors. You Don't Mess With Zohan showed Adam Sandler as a tough Israeli hair stylist. The Love Guru preview found Mike Myers blabbering on with South Asian inflections. Rounding things out in perhaps the most innocuous case, Cate Blanchett popped up as a Communist baddie in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Are these gross caricatures or fair play?
We've touched on this issue before, but it looks like each month the trend gets a little stronger. There's edgy and there's a line: Borat may or may not send the wrong message, but the character's faux Kazakh accent tells you a lot about the way Americans tend to judge foreigners on the basis of their less-than-perfect English. The specific nature of the satire gives Cohen's performance an underlying purpose -- unlike, say, Love Guru, which seems more like a chance to ignorantly marvel at Myers' ability to turn Indians into a continuous punchline. Recently, a few Hindu groups launched protests against the film. This could mark uncharted terrain for Myers, who did not, as far as I know, get lambasted by any hippies after the first Austin Powers.