Relying on a sketch character to carry a feature length film is something that many have failed at before. The 10-minute character in a comedy bit usually doesn’t transfer well to the big screen, but here it does. This is a film that has laughs for everyone. While you may not laugh at every joke set up, it’s hard to keep a straight face throughout the entire movie. Sacha Baron Cohen pulls off the impossible. Or rather, Borat does.
Borat Sagdiyev is a Kazakhstani TV personality who sets off for America to learn lessons and bring them back to Kazakhstan to improve the country. He leaves his wife and village and goes to New York City with his producer, Azamat, to catch pieces of America on tape. What he does catch does not always put Americans in the best light, and for those who don’t get it, this movie may be more about you than for you.
Borat and Azamat decide to travel to California, mainly to find Pamela Anderson so Borat can marry the sweet virgin. After securing a proper vehicle in the form of an ice cream truck, they stop in Washington DC, parts of the South, and a Texas rodeo, while horrifying people in all places. Borat tries to fit into American society, but misreads key clues regarding gender, race, religion, and mostly everything else. It is in these misunderstandings, of course, where the humor is. But, the two men adapt to the American threats and police by getting some animal protection in the form of a great, big bear. Borat also finds people who try to help him throughout the movie, from Senators to Southern etiquette and dining coaches to a camper load of frat boys. But it is his dealings with everyone that is funny. Borat just doesn’t fit in, and his mannerisms and obvious boorish opinions are funny because it hits at everything that we aren’t supposed to joke about.
Some of the jokes in this movie are uncomfortably funny; at times, looking at the screen was painful. One long, drawn out scene that had the entire audience roaring had to do with Borat and Azamat wrestling naked after Borat finds Azamat “disrespecting” a picture of Pam Anderson. If people were laughing to cover their discomfort at seeing two men in positions not usually seen outside of male gay porn or because they thought it was hysterical, it still got the laugh.
Sacha Baron Cohen is a mystery man. His other characters, like Ali G are completely different than each other, and what type of personality the actor himself has is a mystery. However, what he does do well is pick the pieces of society that are raw and uncomfortable and make a joke about it. If we’re laughing, we recognize it. There is a good chance that people will be more offended than not, however. But, let the reviews be your warning label. If you are offended easily, either wait for the video or avoid completely. For everyone else, even if you don’t laugh at every joke, you’ll be laughing as you walk out of the theater. People have been calling this movie the funniest ever. It’s definitely up there.
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