Film Review: Borat

December 5, 2006

One can hardly escape either seeing, talking about or at least hearing others talk about Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Borat – a character creation of British comedian Sascha Baron Cohen. The original Borat first came to life on Cohen’s highly successful cable comedy Da Ali G show. Borat is a disguisting, vile Kazakh reporter who comes to America to learn about the West and improve life back in Kazakhstan, a large, sparsely populated country of tremendous natural resources that is nowhere near the location in which the film was shot – a tiny village in a poor region of Romania. Borat, mustachioed, Middle Eastern looking and wearing sand colored polyester suits that were in fashion 20 years ago is a composite image that has little to do with anyone real from Kazakhstan or anywhere else. In fact he is a vile, un-sanitary character who chases after Pamela Anderson, embarasses his American hosts and speaks a meaningless mish-mash of words from Polish and Russian and other Eastern European languages from countries thousands of miles away from Kazakhstan. In some ways, Borat makes Howard Stern look dignified, but as with Howard the audience wonders: “What is he going to say or do next?” Cohen makes Borat repulsive even by comparison to some pretty morally repugnant individuals he meets during his trip, – people he ends up lampooning, making fun of and upsetting.  These are the people who at first want to “help” Borat acquire the right skills in America, – people who feel condescension towards Borat mixed in with easy, barely hidden comfort with his manufactured intolerance. One should see Borat – it is a funny, original cold shower of a movie. If some scenes make you queasy, take a sip of soda and close your eyes – you will keep on laughing.  Recommended. 

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