Bragging rights for "Borat"

Nov. 8, 2006, midnight | By Ashley Lau | 14 years, 2 months ago

Mockumentary exudes hilarity and blows competition out of the water

In the pleading words of Borat Sagdiyev, "Please come see my movie, if not success, I will be execute."

It looks like Kazakhstan's sixth most famous man will be keeping his head.

The much anticipated big screen debut of everyone's favorite carelessly ignorant, accent bearing, mustachioed Kazakh reporter takes the high route on his sensationally hilarious, yet boldly revealing, documentary of American culture. The film by and large lives up to its hype and does justice to the Borat we all love and know from HBO's "Da Ali G Show."

In his own Stephen Colbert meets Ashton Kutcher (think "Punk'd") meets Johnny Knoxville (think "Jackass") kind of way, British actor Sacha Baron Cohen — the genius mind behind Borat — single-handedly reveals a side of America that is often not outwardly evident, alluding to the point that racism, homophobia and sexism are unfortunately still pervasive even in the 21st century. Yes, at times Baron Cohen takes his material to the very edge of sanity, clearly offending many, but the film was not designed to be politically correct, safe or flattering. At times, Baron Cohen even slides in scenes of unnecessary graphic nudity that can make the audience feel uncomfortable. But aside from the crude humor, there is the talented Baron Cohen that pushes the film out of "stupid humor" and onto a higher level.

The documentary begins with Borat exiting his home country of Kazakhstan in an old blue car pulled by a horse to showcase rural Kazakhstan and the Kazakh reporter in his native element before he hits America. As Borat traverses the U. S. of A. with his go-to man, Azamat (Ken Davitian), in an uninsured, used ice cream truck (in true Borat style), he finds himself in the thick of American culture — visiting a feminist group, partaking in a gay-pride parade, purging his sins by an impassioned congregation and bonding with three college frat boys, to name a few. In every situation, Borat is Borat, never breaking his character, even when he manages to turn an entire rodeo stadium against him in less than five minutes.

Adding to the comedic display of Baron Cohen's foreign and culturally backwards performance as Borat is the fact that no one, save Baron Cohen, Davitian and the crew, is aware that the Kazakh reporter is completely fabricated and that every interview and recording is shot for the single purpose of creating an American movie. Instead, everyone filmed is under the notion that they're talking with Borat for the benefit of televising American culture in Kazakhstan. To this end, through his own morally backwards demeanor, Baron Cohen unknowingly cajoles many Americans into making their own sexist, homophobic and racist statements — unearthing a side of American culture that doesn't get played out all that often. What downplays the offensive theme is that Borat's satire targets people of all beliefs, races and creeds equally so that it does not afflict any one group too glaringly.

Within the 84 minutes of the film's laugh-out-loud brilliance, Borat explores the extremities of our own America, exposing the reality behind our own stereotypes and defying his own disclaimer that "No reputations, public images or feelings were harmed in the filming of this production."

But the real beauty behind Baron Cohen's masterpiece is the very outrageous, inexplicable, tear-evoking humor that transcends every other comedic documentary, entering the film into a class of its own. There are really no words that can do justice to the most hilarious documentary ever to hit the big screen. Probably the only advice you should ever take from Borat is to see the film and witness the mastermind for yourself.


Borat (84 minutes, area theaters) is rated R for pervasive strong crude and sexual content including graphic nudity and language.

Ashley Lau. Born in Boston, Ashley is a huge Red Sox fan and sometimes wishes she could just live at Fenway Park. She loves to run, do tae kwon do, travel, cook, go to concerts and has a new obsession with the TV show 24. Someday Ashley … More »

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