COURTESY OF 20TH CENTURY FOX
From the warped mind of Sacha Baron Cohen comes the controversial mockumentary “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.” This movie is just what one would expect from everyone’s favorite Kazakhstani friend, Borat.
The movie begins with the introduction of Borat Sagdiyev, a Kazakhstani television journalist. He takes us through his village and introduces all the characters that inspire many of his comical commentaries on “Da Ali G Show,” including his sister, Natalya (the fourth-best prostitute in all of Kazakhstan) and of course Urkin (the town rapist). Right off the bat Borat proclaims, “My name-a Borat, I like you. ... I like sex, that’s nice.”
The mockumentary chronicles the findings and teachings of Borat in America and his quest to marry Pamela Anderson. He is commissioned by the Ministry of Kazakhstan to bring back lessons in hopes of improving his beloved country.
The movie, while hilariously dark and raunchy, features many scenes that will cause viewers to stop and think about the nature of their beliefs, especially the ideals of the American dream. “Borat” is a film that is over the top and at times grossly inappropriate, but nonetheless comical and insightful.
The film has garnered much criticism directed toward Sacha Baron Cohen for its sexism, racism and anti-Semitism.
The film has also angered many in Kazakhstan over what they feel is an inaccurate depiction of their country. Yet many jokes actually show an ignorance of people as a whole and lampoon the very ideas behind sexism, racism and anti-Semitism.
It is not a conventional gross-out comedy. While lewd acts do occur throughout the film, the segments regarding race, sex and bigotry are the most comical as well as the most thought-provoking, inviting the viewer to laugh and not be ashamed that the nature of the comedy is based on such preposterous ideas such as men being greater than women.
While the film succeeds in provoking controversy and thought, it also works on a slapstick level. Certain images are vivid, disgusting and not for the weak of stomach.
The depiction of “the wizard’s sleeve” is particularly disturbing. Moviegoers will either find themselves laughing or wishing they hadn’t just heard the meaning of those lines.
The movie sometimes becomes more preachy and arrogant than cynical and satirical. It’s as if the movie is inaccurately portraying the views of some Americans and labeling all of America as dumb.
Ironically the movie’s only glaring flaw lies in its actual message. It seems hard to believe that people can actually be this ignorant. While some scenes seem realistic, other scenes are grossly overacted and painfully awkward to watch as the movie stretches to find some sort of lesson.
Despite these rough patches, the movie more than makes up for it with its humorous scenes, raunchy comedy, cynical jokes and endearing segments. “Borat” is a disgustingly hilarious comedy that is sardonic and offensive, and yet, at times, surprisingly heartwarming.