Movie Review
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Borat poster
By Craig Younkin     Published October 26, 2006
US Release: November 3, 2006

Directed by: Larry Charles
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen , Ken Davitian , Luenell , Pamela Anderson

Running Time: 84 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $128,505,958
Borat is designed to offend just about everybody...but [it's] deeper than that; Cohen is plumbing the depths of American sensibilities.
Jagshamesh! You see Borat! It very funny movie! High Five! Sacha Baron Cohen first brought "Borat" to the small screen on his "Da Ali G Show," but now "Borat" is taking off in his very own movie. It begins in Kazakhstan where the sexist, anti-Semitic television reporter Borat (Cohen) tells us that the country has fallen on hard times and that he is to go to America to create a documentary (the Kazakh?s want to know how we thrive socially and economically). The movie is a blend of the scripted, which is about Borat going from New York to California in order to meet his dream girl, and the unscripted, which has him doing interviews with real feminists, politicians, Jews and more.

What always works well for Borat in interviews is that he conveys a sort of innocence. Even though he says and does horrible things, his interviewee?s usually find him delightfully harmless. They think he?s just a misled simpleton they can change, but in that lies the real comedy of this movie. "Borat" is designed to demean and offend just about everybody, even the country of Kazakhstan. He greets every American man with a kiss, makes people look like fools in interviews, sings his country?s national anthem during a rodeo, and introduces a crude mystery bag during a dinner thrown by a Republican senator. The whole thing becomes a hilarious test of tolerance and the interesting part is he usually comes out of these encounters unscathed.

And at times he also manages to expose racism and bigotry that still exists in this country. Again, the work Cohen does in the south is his most telling; whether he goes into a gun store and asks which one is the best for "killing Jews,? or talking about what should be done with gays, what?s shocking are the responses he gets. And as far as crude comedy goes, this is one of the kings. Cohen has drawn no line in the sand. I don?t want to give too much away but this is a guy who takes comedy to a courageous level. How else to explain the fight between two hairy, naked men (one of which is at least over 300 pounds) throughout the hallways and meeting halls of a hotel ? or Borat?s first (and from what I gather, the only ever) meeting with the lady of his dreams.

Cohen has a certified hit on his hands. Buzz has been circulating around this movie since May, and low and behold, this is one of those times where all of it is almost accurate (not sure about the "Oscar" talk just yet). This is a wall to wall laugh-out-loud funny movie that also manages to make a few observations about the American people as well. Every scene of "Borat" is an inspired piece of hilarity that rarely misses the mark, but there is something going on here that?s deeper than that; Cohen is plumbing the depths of American sensibilities. Sometimes his methods reveal a social ill while at other times exactly what he wants to reveal, besides the fact that he can make anyone look stupid, is harder to pin-point. "Borat" proves to be an interesting and gut-bustingly funny look at America and is destined to become a big hit.
Craig's Grade: A-
Craig's Overall Grading: 340 graded movies
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'Borat' Articles
  • 'Borat' Early Sellouts Report
    November 3, 2006    With 837 theaters, the major markets and college towns will make up a decent chunk of the movie's revenue (where Borat is likely to explode), and the early sellouts indicate potential pent-up demand. -- Lee Tistaert
  • 'Borat' Box Office Preview
    October 19, 2006    $20 million is possible for an opening just about as much as the teen range is, but the hardcore R-rating and season could keep it from reaching the long-term success of 40-Year-Old Virgin. -- Lee Tistaert
  • Lee's review B+
    March 30, 2006    Borat is mostly just gag after gag after gag, and it works damn well. -- Lee Tistaert