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Cultural Laughings

  • Mar 8, 2007

Cultural Laughings

Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride

"Borat' is the funniest movie I have seen in a long, long time. It is hilarious, it is offensive, it is rude and it is very smart. Sacha Baron Cohen is absolutely amazing. He consistently stays in character and is probably one of the funniest men we have in movies today, The movie is so full of surprises and as funny as they are the first time, they are that much funnier the second, third and fourth times. In fact, I am laughing while I write this review.
A film of this nature-one which pokes fun at us and we laugh at ourselves, has the potential to be absolutely amazing or absolutely awful. It is a movie that is expertly handled as it welds fiction to non-fiction and constantly tests the boundaries of good taste and decency as it reveals so much of the way we live.
What the movie is is a two hour journey which follows Borat across the United States as he comes into contact with all kinds of characters. He comes to America from Kazakhstan to make a documentary about American life that he can show to people in his home country so they will know how to better themselves.
The movie opens with an introduction to our main character in his village in Kazakhstan. We meet his sister--"the number four prostitute in the whole of Kazakhstan", we learn of Borat's interests--ping-ponging", sunbathing and watching "ladies make toilet". When Borat lands in the "US and A' all hell breaks loose literally. Sacha Baron Cohen's anti-emetic misogynist and bigoted character embodies all of the taboos we have in America today. Cohen is brave and has no inhibitions and the whirlpool of gags spoofs and crazy one-liners as well as graphic jokes will stay with you for a very long time.
The movie is crude and if you take it for what is is you will not stop laughing long after it is over. It draws on the ignorance of so many Americans and it shocks us, humbles us and makes us more aware. We see the dark underbelly of America. It is so anti-Jewish that it becomes a crude masterpiece for those who take what Borat says seriously. To say anymore about the film might spoil it for those who have not seen it yet. And if you have seen it, then get the DVD that has scenes that did not make it to the final cut.

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review by . August 08, 2007
I saw this movie after numerous friends saw it and recommended it to me. By looking at its ratings on and other websites, it was supposed to be one of the funniest movies of 2006. I was wholly disappointed. As a minority, and someone who appreciates good racial and ethnic jokes, I found this movie's comedy to be a haphazard mix of derogatory, old-hat or just plain disgusting. Much of the humor featured in this film has been included in older movies. For example, the notion of Borat going …
review by . April 19, 2007
I must say that I'm a fan of Sacha Baron Cohen's "Da Ali G Show," and have enjoyed it for some time now. Borat was fun to watch as he made his way through the United States looking for people to agitate, disgust, anger, etc. However, in this film, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," Cohen runs the comedy well dry. The scripted moments of this film were the weakest points in the movie. **SPOILERS** The incident with the bear, the bickering with his …
review by . April 03, 2007
Finally had the opportunity to watch this and try to understand the hype surrounding this. After viewing this I thought it was silly to an extent regarding these culture clashes. The way the film is made is quite unorthodox because there are few actors and the main part of characters are people who really think they are talking to a reporter from Kazakhstan, just a candid camera. It is not surprising the huge controversy aroused as some of the people tricked into the 'documentary' have already sued …
About the reviewer
Amos Lassen ()
Ranked #84
I am an academic who reivews movies and books of interest to the GLBT and Jewish communities.   I came to Arkansas after having been relocated here due to Hurricane Katrina. I was living in … more
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It takes a certain kind of comic genius to create a character who is, to quote the classic Sondheim lyric, appealing and appalling. But be forewarned: Borat is not "something for everyone." It arrives as advertised as one of the most outrageous, most offensive, and funniest films in years. Kazakhstan journalist Borat Sagdiyev (Sacha Baron Cohen reprising the popular character from his Da Ali G Show), leaves his humble village to come to "U.S. and A" to film a documentary. After catching an episode of Baywatch in his New York hotel room, he impulsively scuttles his plans and, accompanied by his fat, hirsute producer (Hardy to his Laurel), proceeds to California to pursue the object of his obsession, Pamela Anderson. Borat is not about how he finds America; it's about how America finds him in a series of increasingly cringe-worthy scenes. Borat, with his '70s mustache, well-worn grey suit, and outrageously backwards attitudes (especially where Jews are concerned) interacts with a cross-section of the populace, catching them, a la Alan Funt on Candid Camera, in the act of being themselves. Early on, an unwitting humor coach advises Borat about various types of jokes. Borat asks if his brother's retardation is a ripe subject for comedy. The coach patiently replies, "That would not be funny in America." NOT! Borat is subversively, bracingly funny. When it comes to exploring uncharted territory of what is and is not appropriate or ...

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Director: Larry Charles
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: November 3, 2006
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: March 6, 2007
Runtime: 84 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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"Cultural Laughings"
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