Release Date: November 3rd, 2006 by 20th Century Fox.
The Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Ken Davitian, Pamela Anderson.
Directed by Larry Charles.
BASIC PREMISE: Borat (Cohen), a T.V. reporter from Kazakhstan, travels to the U.S.A. to film a documentary about its culture.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Borat is outrageous, disgusting and laugh-out-loud funny for the first half but just outrageous and disgusting second half. Its mockumentary style pushes the envelope much further than Christopher Guest could imagine and, for that matter, as far as the R-rating can possibly go without being NC-17. The first 4 minutes, which can be downloaded here are hilarious and absurd. If you laughed at that, you’ll laugh at the first half of the film for sure. When Borat arrives in the “U.S. and A”, the comedy gets even more absurd and disgusting—i.e., he does his business (or, in his poor English, does “a little dirt” or “makes a squeeze”) in front of the Trump Towers and feeds cheese made out of his wife’s breast milk to a politician. Borat’s fat producer, Azamat (Davitian), helps him on his trek out west to find his dream-girl, Pamela Anderson Lee. Along the ride, they insults many different people from Jews, Christians, blacks, whites, gypsies and, an easy target, George W. Bush. However, insult against the Jews gets old pretty quickly—i.e., Borat and Azamat stay Bed & Breakfast Inn while assuming that Inn’s two Jewish owners shape-shifted into two cockroaches, so they throw money at the cockroaches as they escape in the middle of the night. Since when is that supposed to be funny? To add insult to injury, Borat is supposed to be speaking Kazakh or at least talking in gibberish that sounds like it for comic effect, but instead speaks Hebrew. The laughs continue to diminish as Borat repeats more stupid insults about gypsies and more toilet humor. When he and Azamat roll around through a hotel naked in seemingly sexual positions, the comedy crosses the line into disgusting and even horrifying territory. On a positive note, Sacha Baron Cohen does manage to keep a straight face throughout all of the comic attempts. If you liked watching him playing the same character on “Da Ali G Show”, you’ll easily tolerate this film’s offensiveness and the excessively gross-out scenes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have enough fresh material nor is it consistently funny as it could have been. At least it doesn’t overstay its welcome at a brief running time of 82 minutes.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: None is required or desired.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Every scene, unless you check your brain at the door.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 3
IN A NUTSHELL: Initially hilarious, but eventually repetitive and excessively disgusting rather than funny.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: VHS/DVD
The "B" Menu