Thursday, May 3, 2007

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan; Satire/ Grotesque, USA, 2006; D: Larry Charles, S: Sacha Baron Cohen, Ken Davitian, Luenell, Bob Barr, Pamela Anderson

Kazakhstan TV journalist Borat got an assignment to film a documentary about the great USA for the Kazakh Ministry of Information. Borat first introduces himself and his village, then his sister prostitute, 43-year old mother and wife Oxanna. Together with producer Azamat he leaves for New York to learn something from the civilized and advanced Americans. But he spots Pamela Anderson on television and falls in love with her, thus leaving with his crew for California to marry her. On his way he meets religious fanatics, radicals and snobs, creating chaos. Anderson rejects him, so Borat marries a prostitute and leaves back for Kazakhstan.

Mockumentary "Borat" is one of those films that are anticipated with great expectations due to critical praise and popularity, but once you see it you realize it's so lame that even you could have been able to film it with half of effort. Ville, gross, overhyped and full of recycled jokes from previous films, "Borat" is more an exercise in excess (the sequence where the Kazakh people destroy the "Jewish egg" in a ceremony) than it is genuinely funny. While some are going to characterize it as an intelligent and clever satire on America (the title hero goes to learn something from civilized and advanced Americans, but it turns out that they also have primitive, antisemitic, snobby and heartless people as much as Kazakhstan) masked as a stupid comedy, others are going to denounce it as a senseless farce that doesn't differentiate itself from "Jackass" or "Beavis and Butt-Head". The only undoubtedly true thing is that Sacha Baron Cohen is excellent in his role, putting himself completely into the character and devoting his whole charisma to it, and for which he won the Golden Globe as the best actor in a motion picture musical or comedy. Some of Cohen's gags are really great, for instance when he enters a subway train for the first time and decides to greet every passenger in it or when he enters a rodeo and starts talking how he hopes that "America is going to destroy Iraq so much that in the next 1.000 years not even a lizard is going to be able to live there", but his humor and style are not especially sophisticated.


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