Borat
Who wants to drive car? Oh no! Bear wants to drive car!

Theatrical Release Date: 11/03/2006
Director: Larry Charles
Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Ken Davitian, Pamela Anderson

Wowwowweewah! Sacha Baron Cohen is back with another of his zany characters, this time in the guise of Borat. A TV star in his native Kazakhstan, in his feature film debut, Borat attempts to discover the cultural identity of America.

Anyone familiar with Borat from his appearances on the Ali G show (another of Cohen’s alter egos) knows that what makes the character great is the lack of any politically correct bones in his body.

Borat calls them as he sees them, generally to the amusement of the audience and shame of his victims.

To describe the plot of the film is kind of like trying to catch a greased pig. There is a very thin thread that explains Borat’s desire to travel from New York to L.A. which I’ll leave unexplained for the seven people who didn’t see the film.

Along the way, Borat meets a wide cross section of America, both real and scripted. The scripted material can be funny at times (or gross if you’re not a fan of discovering the true nature of the term “teabag”).

However, what makes the film work are the interactions with real people who have no idea they’re about to be embarrassed on movie screens worldwide.

From drunk, misogynistic college students to some well-mannered southern upper crust, people somehow buy Borat’s shtick.

He takes advantage of their trust, exposing their attitudes and actions for all of us to laugh at.

Whether or not you should see this film centers on the type of humor you’re willing to stomach.

At times, the film can politely described as crass, combining disgusting physical humor with horrible stereotypes you wouldn’t laugh at if you weren’t masked in the anonymity of a dark theater or amongst the closest of friends.

Some of the humor falls into the uncomfortable category, as unsuspecting people are duped into acting the fool.

Then there is the smart, socio-political commentary that weaves itself throughout.

“Borat” is a mixed bag, a potpourri of amusement if you will.

Overall I had a decent time and I found myself laughing often enough … though I wouldn’t laugh at many of the same jokes if I were being recorded.

(Of course, I am writing about it, so between this and some photos taken in college, count my political career out.)

If you’re a fan of Cohen’s, you’ll find a lot to like in this film. If you prefer more standard comedy, feel free to avoid this. I don’t know how America embraced this film as much as it did, since we’re the butt of the joke primarily, but there are plenty of worse films.

I’m giving “Borat” a 3 out of 5. It’s worth a rental but you may not want to rush out and own this one.