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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 politically correct, Borat knows no boundaries, as when he brings a fancy dinner with the southern gentry to a halt after returning from the bathroom with a bag of his feces ("The cultural differences are vast," his hostess graciously/patronizingly offers), or turns cheers to boos at a rodeo when he calls for bloodlust against the Iraqis and mangles "The Star Spangled Banner."

Success, John F. Kennedy once said, has a thousand fathers. A paternity test on Borat might reveal traces of Bill Dana's Jose Jimenez, Andy Kaufman, Michael Moore, The Jamie Kennedy Xperiment, and Jackass. Some scenes seem to have been staged (a game Anderson, whom Borat confronts at a book signing, was reportedly in on the setup), but others, as the growing litany of lawsuits attests, were not. All too real is Borat's encounter with loutish Southern frat boys who reveal their sexism and racism, and the disturbing moment when he asks a gun store owner what gun he would recommend to "kill a Jew" (a Glock automatic is the matter-of-fact reply). Comedy is not pretty, and in Borat it can get downright ugly, as when Borat and his producer get jiggly with it during a nude fight that spills out from their hotel room into the hallway, elevator, lobby and finally, a mortgage brokers association banquet. High-five! --Donald Liebenson

On the DVD
"Global Visitings" capturesBorat-mania in all its hype and glory, as Sacha Baron Cohen, never breaking character, promotes his film around the world. On the itinerary isLate Night with Conan O'Brienand the Toronto Film Festival, a now-legendary screening aborted after a projector malfunction. A mixed bag of deleted scenes finds Borat trying to bait more unsuspecting citizens, including an animal-control worker who refuses Borat a dog after he asks, "How do you recommend I cook this?" and a doctor who is nonplussed by Borat's obscene medical history. A supermarket visit offers the most maddening fromage-inspired looniness since Monty Python's "Cheese Shop" sketch. Also good for a few chuckles are a faux soundtrack commercial and aBaywatchparody ("Sexydangerwatch").--Donald Liebenson
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Details

CastPamela Anderson, Ken Davitian, Sacha Baron Cohen, Bob Barr, Luenell
DirectorLarry Charles
Genre:  Comedy
Release Date:  November 3, 2006
MPAA Rating:  R
Screen WriterSacha Baron Cohen, Todd Phillips, Dan Mazer, Peter Baynham, Anthony Hines
DVD Release Date:  March 6, 2007
Runtime:  84 minutes
Studio:  20th Century Fox
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review by . April 29, 2009
Having seen Clerks II, I thought that I had seen one of the more shocking movies around but it pales in comparison to this movie. People with prudish attitudes should definitely stay home and even open minded people like myself will have some issues as to how far the movie will go.     This movie seemed like a long joke that stretched so far that I started to get a headache after the first hour. Borat (Cohen) seemed to want to do really outrageous thing to unsuspecting audiences …
review by . November 01, 2008
DVD
Sacha Baron Cohen stars as Borat, a journalist from Kazakhstan who has come to America to make a documentary. While in New York, he sees "Baywatch" on TV and vows to go to California and marry Pamela Anderson. Off he goes across the country, meeting (and insulting) various groups along the way, including Jews, Christians, animal lovers, rodeo fans, fine diners, a doctor, and just about anyone else you can imagine. The vignettes were shot with real people, a la "Candid Camera," who react to the …
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 IMDB.com 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 …
review by . March 08, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
"Borat"    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 …
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