So I finally got out to see Borat the other night, and can happily report that everything you have heard about the film is true and then some.
Borat is easily the most offensive, politically incorrect movie I have seen in what seems like forever. It is also so hilarious my gut is still hurting as I write this. There are scenes in this movie that are so disgusting I literally had to turn my head away from the screen, even as I was laughing so hard I was practically in tears. Gross beyond description, scenes like the nude wrestling match between Borat and his grotesquely fat movie producer are also hysterically funny.
In Borat, not only are there no sacred cows — there aren't any sacred bears, goats, or roosters either. You'd have to see the film to fully grasp the real meaning of that last sentence I just wrote. In the meantime, you'll just have to take my word for it.
But here's a quick synopsis:
In his quest to discover American culture, Kazakhstani journalist Borat manages to piss off just about everybody from holy rolling pentecostals to angry "old man" feminists. Puzzling over why "nobody like me," Borat does everything from jerking off in public, to "making shit in toilet" at a dinner designed to teach him American dinner etiquette. Of course bringing the shit neatly bagged to the dinner table is apparently considered perfectly good manners in Kazakhstan.
I think I'm starting to see why government officials in that country are none too happy about this film.
So as you can probably imagine, I couldn't wait to get back home to my computer and type out a review after seeing Borat. The problem I didn't anticipate was finding a unique angle. Seems that the film hailed in its own advertising as the "best reviewed movie of the year" has also been the most reviewed movie of the year. Including right here at Blogcritics, where some of our very best scribes have already covered it from every perspective imaginable. What was this writer to do?
So imagine my delight when, like manna from heaven, I discovered Mahir. As in Mahir Cagri.
Now you have no doubt heard about some of the lawsuits already said to be brewing over the real-time situations so hilariously exploited in this movie.
You may have heard for example about the frat boys who picked up the hitchhiking Borat and took him on a wild, drunken ride in an SUV. Said to be humiliated by the racist and sexist comments made during their party on wheels, these boys are now doing the choir act. More legal hilarity is no doubt bound to ensue.
But Mahir is the one guy who could actually have a legitimate case. The similarities between the real-life Mahir and Sacha Baron Cohen's character Borat Sagdiyev are striking to be sure. They are both tall, mustached men from foreign lands (Mahir is from Izmir, Turkey), who speak a sort of fractured form of English. They are both journalists who share a taste for things like ping pong, exotic music and clothing choices, and making sexy time with nice nude models and other peoples.
Mahir first became an underground Internet phenomenon in 1999.
His I Kiss You website first became a cyber-oddity and in-joke among the geek crowd, before growing a huge worldwide audience that at one point drew daily hits numbering six figures and included celebrity fans like Roseanne Barr and Kenny G. On Mahir's somewhat modest looking site, you can find him talking about his various interests and see him in lots and lots of pictures. Playing ping-pong. Relaxing in a tight red Speedo. And most of all, professing his love for sex.
Sound familiar? Then there is this from Mahir himself:
"My profession jurnalist, music and sport teacher, I make psycolojy doctora. I like to take foto-camera (amimals, towns, nice nude models and peoples."
A note to my editors here that the mispelled words are Mahir's rather than mine. Mahir's fondness for music ("I like music, I have many many music enstrumans my home I can play") and sports ("I like sport, swiming, basketball, tenis, volayball, walk") are fully documented. As is his love for sex ("I like sex").
Mahir is also a man of the world who says that "I like travel I go 3-4 country every year
I went , Germany , Nederland , Belgium , Austria , Denmark , Sweden , Hungary
Moldovia , Ukraina , Bulgaria , Romania , Macedonia , Azerbaijan , Georrgia , Iran… "
You get the idea. But most of all, Mahir enjoys making friends. Both while traveling abroad ("I like to be friendship from different country") or making new aquaintances at home ("Who is want to come TURKEY I can invitate… She can stay my home… ").
According to Wikipedia, Mahir's website has both the distinction of being named one of CNET's Top Ten Internet Fads (on July 15, 2005) and PC Magazine's 25 Worst Web Sites (on September 15, 2006).
Whether or not the real life Mahir's Internet fame actually predates Sacha Baron Cohen's fictional Borat character probably depends on who you talk to. But Mahir — who has enjoyed something of a revival in popularity since the Borat film became a national phenomenon this week — is said to be pondering legal action. He plans to travel to London seeking to sue Cohen "first for honour and money after."
At the very least, Mahir wants an apology from Cohen "for what is my right." He has however added that he would accept Sacha's friendship "if he want to make friends."