Movie Reviews

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Reviewed by: Blake Wright
Rating: 8 out of 10
Movie Details: View here

Cast:
Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat Sagdiyev
Ken Davitian as Azamat Bagatov
Pamela Anderson as herself

Summary:

Jagshemash! "Borat" is a riotous, highly offensive gem of a movie that is a fish our of water tale of a Kazakhi journalist's journey to America and his subsequent obsession with former "Baywatch" beauty Pam Anderson.

Story:

Borat Sagdiyev is a television news correspondent making a meager living in the struggling country of Kazakhstan. The country's Ministry of Information taps Borat to travel to America to observe the western way of life and report back with any information that could benefit his native land. The plan is to stick with the culture of New York, but soon after Borat learns to use the television remote control he is compelled to take his journey to the west coast. Seduced by "Baywatch" and learning of his Kazakhi wife's death (via telegram) in a very short span, Borat makes his new mission to woo and marry buxom Hollywood starlet Pamela Anderson.

"Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" is rated R for pervasive strong crude and sexual content including graphic nudity, and language.

What Worked:

First things first. This is a funny movie… a very funny movie. While a good portion of the jokes are typical 'fish out of water' fodder a la "Crocodile Dundee II," the situations are so outlandish and over-the-top, it takes the comedy to a new level - from relieving himself - that's number 2 - in the landscaping outside the entrance to Trump Tower to getting an animal for 'protection', this is laugh-out loud stuff.

Sacha Cohen's Borat is an extremely likeable character, which adds a lot to the story itself. When Borat is happy, you are happy. When he is sad, you are sad. With all of the envelope-pushing buffoonery going on, you can still care about this character and his mission, which ultimately is about finding the right mate.

Without getting into specific gags, some of the things to look for in the movie include the Running of the Jew, the fundamentalist dinner party, Borat's first look at the Pam/Tommy Lee sex tape, the marriage sack and the ultimate whereabouts of the 'protection' animal. I almost fell out of my seat.

Ken Davitian also does a good job as Borat's rotund producer/sidekick who reluctantly follows him on his journey across the US.

What Didn't Work:

I can take "Borat" on a pure comedy level, however this movie is pretty ruthless and I can see why some - see Kazakhis and the Jewish community - would be up in arms about some of the content here. The Running of the Jew is harsh… the depiction of an older Jewish couple as cockroaches is harsh… however, the most graphic and disturbing scene in the movie is a full-on fight/wrestling match between a buck-naked Borat and an equally nude Azamat. The fight, which starts in a hotel room, starts to resemble a sex scene as the pair find themselves in highly suggestive positions during the tussle. This goes on way too long. It eventually spills out in to the busy hotel, but it is the scenes in the room that will have you looking away.

In the end, "Borat" is a funny film. Is it for everyone? No, not even close. But if you are a fan of the character and of Cohen's humor, it is quite a ride.

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