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

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Borat came to the U.S. and A to make a movie-film. He wanted to learn about the “greatest country in the world” and make a documentary to benefit his homeland of Kazakhstan. The result? To say the least, it is a film that shows off how not so great America is, and that Sacha Baron Cohen might just be the funniest man on the planet.

As the sex-crazed, Jew hating, tactless Borat, British comedian Baron Cohen lights up the silver screen with hijinx, and stuns his audience with painful amounts of laughter. The film is overly irreverent, following Borat as he travels through America, meeting with some of the most unbelievable characters our country has to offer. From the edgy New Yorkers who threaten to kick his ass on the subway to the anti-homosexual, gun toting Bush-ite Rodeo manager who advises him to shave his mustache to make him look less like a terrorist, to the right-wing Evangelists who try and save his soul and introduce him to Jesus — it is an America that becomes the butt end of each joke. The film, utilizing some higher level of genius on the part of Cohen, exposes some of the “lows” of American culture — a tragic but hilarious sight to be seen.

Another hilarious sight is the lead man himself and his antics that keep the audience laughing from bell to bell. To be honest, I have not laughed this hard at a film in a long, long time. From his mannerisms to the audacity he has showing more than some skin, Cohen makes every single minute of this film funny. And just like any other comedy, there are moments where the humor must take a back seat to plot development, but this time around that’s not the case for long. It seems as if every two minutes, Borat is finding some way to get himself into some predicament that leaves the audience laughing so hard they are on the verge of having an accident.

What makes Borat so special is not just Cohen’s uninhibited way, but how well the film works on a whole. Just as Cohen has paraded around from interview to interview never breaking character for a moment, the film does the same. From minute one, it looks like I imagine a Kazakhstani documentary would, and it never breaks its stride even for a moment. The production values can sometimes be inconsistent, making it easy to tell which scenes were staged and which were “on the fly”, but that doesn’t take away from the film’s ability to be absolutely hilarious.

And it is this factor, in the end, that is the overriding truth of Borat’s movie-film: it is 110%, indisputably hilarious. You have to be able to handle some gratuitous male nudity, some anti-Semitic jokes, and, of course, lots of painfully true forms of Americana. But in the end, you will laugh your ass off. While Borat himself may be a bit ignorant to the ways of America, his creator, the man behind the mustache, is a genius when it comes to making America laugh.

The Upside: Sacha Baron Cohen is very much a comic genius. This film is just downright funny!

The Downside: Plenty of gratuitous and awkward moments to keep the squeamish folks away.

On the Side: This film was originally to be directed by Todd Phillips. But creative differences between Phillips and Sacha Baron Cohen prompted Phillips to drop out of the project.

Final Grade: 4.5 Stars

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About Neil Miller

  • Duke De Mondo

    Great review Neil. i loved this, and i’m so very glad Sacha Baron Cohen hasn’t demolished another wonderful character via the big screen. Ali G In Da House was, for the most part, insufferable.

    i heard recently that it was the rodeo scene that finally persuaded Phillips to leave the production. i dunno how accurate that is, but if it’s true, i find it very peculiar. Phillips followed GG Allin around the country for the marvellous Hated : GG Allin & The Murder Junkies. surely to God nothing erupting on account of Borat’s antics could compare to the chaos surrounding each and every public appearance by GG.

  • Joan Hunt

    It’s amazing that, for all our faults, America is still the go-to country. We can take a joke, especially when it’s aimed at us.

    I can’t wait to see Borat!

  • dude


  • A polish dude from UK

    It is not just funny ! is tragic as well, I could not believe how the American society is like, it looks like Borat reveals the unseen and UNSTAGED part of the American ignorance to the rest of the world. YES I was amused by the movie-film, but after 3 days of laughing I can’t really believe what I’ve seen in the movie. A country of religious freaks, cowboys, rednecks and war lovers driving cars the size of a bus, celebrity worshipers, silicones, Ebonics, etc.

    Borat makes fun of both the Kazakhstan and US and A portraying both societies as extreme. I personally know many Americans that were offended big time by this movie-film. I hope you enjoy the humour and don’t take it personally !!!

    Great movie !

  • Neil Miller

    Polish guy,

    There really shouldn’t be Americans who are “offended” by this film, but rather “ashamed.” Offended would imply that Borat potentially made something up that wasn’t true. In this film, all of the shameful parts of America that are exposed come directly from the horses mouth – right from the American lunes themselves. Borat is just the oblivious observer.

    That is the inherent brilliance of the film – the ability to mix the dumb humor with some painfully insightful views about America and the world. It is Jackass with a purpose (and a brain for that matter.)

  • Ty

    “On the Side: This film was originally to be directed by Todd Phillips. But creative differences between Phillips and Sacha Baron Cohen prompted Phillips to drop out of the project.”

    You should have pointed that Larry Charles took over the Director’s Chair. Charles is best known for directing Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes.

  • Glenn Brown

    After reading all the reviewers, I am still of the opinion that what someone else thinks about a film is of no use to me in determining whether or not I would enjoy it. However all the reviewers seem to be intelligent and entertaining. The problems seem to be with the film makers who always have a personal agenda, rather than simply creating a form of pure entertainment. This is probably one reason theaters are falling on hard times.

  • Al Barger

    Glenn, I’m a proud supporter of Team America, but this movie was funny in the characters and settings. It’s a fascinating moviefilm. I recommend it highly, but also suggest to you that it does NOT show the Americans looking particularly bad. See it for yourself and judge.