Of this newfangled fad of offensive humor, Sacha Baron Cohen has earned a place near the top of the list. Whether or not you are a fan of
South Park is probably a good indication of whether this is a movie for you. And even Matt Stone and Trey Parker should be jealous of the
grandiosely titled, “Borat: Cultural Learning of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.”
Borat, a journalist from Kazakhstan, travels across America with his producer and reeks as much havoc and awkwardness as humanly
possible. Some of this is real, and some isn’t. Although the plot is certainly far from original, Borat is remorselessly funny.
The film works because of Cohen. He co-wrote the film and more importantly stars as Borat. His performance is pure comic gold. From his
broken English to his ridiculous ability to say and do exactly the wrong thing, Borat is a great character. Although Borat is featured on
Cohen’s “Da Ali G Show,” that was no guarantee that the transition to the big screen would work. Just look at the history of “Saturday Night
Live” films for proof.
I don’t want to say he’s quite on the level of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, but you will notice the similarity in that the voice can make you
laugh at just about anything.
When Borat brags of his sister being the fourth best prostitute in Kazakhstan, asks for a high five after learning his wife was mistaken for a
bear and shot, or laughs at the thought of women being equal to men in front of a group of feminists, it really is hilarious. I also loved a
scene where Borat receives driving lessons from an instructor who plays off him perfectly.
However, “Borat” does have a few problems that keep it from being great. As mentioned before the plot is really pretty flimsy. It does feel
like a series of individual segments strung together at times. I also thought they tried a bit too hard to make us feel sorry for Borat towards
the end of the movie.
Also, there is a scene where Borat wrestles with his producer for very, very long. Oh and both are naked. I really didn’t need to see so
much of that.
But overall, “Borat” is a very good film and probably the funniest movie I’ve seen since “Team America.”
* * * 1/2
(out of four)
Directed by: Larry Charles
Written by: Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Peter
Baynham & Dan Mazer
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Ken Davitian
Cinematography by: Luke Geissbuhler and Anthony
Music by: Erran Baron Cohen
Released: November 3, 2006; 84 Minutes