borat (2006)

Yes, it's true, everyone's favorite Kazakhi reporter is at it again, only this time in his very own movie. And, unlike Ali G's movie, this one isn't direct-to-video and it's actually funny! Yes, I said funny. In a year overflowing with cruddy teen comedies, an underwhelming Ferrell Nascar comedy and even another Jackass movie, Sacha Baron Cohen has delivered a film that I can actually say is funny enough to recommend to your friends. A job well done on Cohen's part, considering he was probably the worst aspect of the aforementioned Ferrell Nascar debauchery. This time around, instead of a French guy who kisses people, we get his recurring Kazakhi guy who kisses people, and it turns out to be a laugh-a-minue for the most part. I can definitely say it: you should see this movie ... just maybe not in theaters. If any of you out there have seen Da Ali G Show, you already know Borat and the hilarity that results from his crazy antics. Basically, with his movie, you get more of the same. So, hey, it was funny as hell and that's no lie, but I would've been able to wait for DVD to enjoy it. If you can't wait though, kick back and enjoy yourself, it's a great time. So, allow me to elaborate on my viewing experience. HIGH FIVE!

So what exactly do I say about this one? I can tell you right now this review is about to be a short one because, as shocking and edgy as the film actually is (and, oh man, is it ever. You've probably heard it crosses the line on many occasions and you heard right), there's not really a whole lot for me to talk about. I mean it's a case of "it's either funny or it's not" and it is, so what else is there? It is what it is. I suppose I can expand a bit on that point: here's where we're coming from. Borat is one of a multitude of characters played by Cohen on his HBO series, Da Ali G Show. In the show he dresses up as these characters and takes to the streets to mess with people in a Candid Camera-style mockery. The Borat segments of the show usually revolve in some way around all of the dumb ways that people react when they believe they are speaking to a foreigner. All of these segments take place in America and have become known for featuring ignorant southern yahoos whom Cohen is more than happy to exploit for a few laughs. He'll challenge their views on politics, their country, religion, homosexuality, racism and many other topics and their feedback usually results in a gold mine of comedic fodder. When his comments go too far, Borat usually wins back their affection by exclaiming something positive, like "I LOVE U. S. AND A!" or "HIGH FIVE!", that will make them remember that he "doesn't know any better". Some of the show's best segments can easily be found on YouTube, and if you've never ben exposed to Borat, it's a perfect time to try it out before plunking down your 8 bucks. The movie kicks off as we're introduced to Borat's family, friends and neighbors in his native land of Kazakhstan. We find out that Borat has been commissioned by his government to make a film detailing American culture so that the Kazakhi people can learn more about the country. And so, with his producer and a camera crew in tow, Borat takes off for America and the rest is an episodic series of misadventures as he searched for American culture, and his one true love, Pamela Anderson. I won't spoil any of the big jokes, you'll want to experience them first hand. Some them really are ridiculous and outrageous, and that's what's so intriguing about the film's success. Not in terms of simple box office success either. Hell, Jackass Number Two was just released to a massive audience of teenage guys and raked in alot of cash. Borat, on the other hand, has garnered some of the biggest critical praise of the year and is making loads of money with an audience that is spread across all demographics. This is showing a huge surge in American filmgoers who are sick of the PC garbage we're usually fed and are feeling refreshed at the display of some bigotry, even if it is in the name of mocking that very thing. While Cohen may be getting a big too much credit for his "jab at American bigotry", this isn't a film filled with meaningless shock humor. It's Cohen mocking, not only his co-stars, and his audience, but himself as well. 

It works, and people are loving it. The great part about this film is that it now solidifies Borat as an icon who will not soon be forgotten. Hey, a sequel is being considered, and while that may be going overboard, it's not like it won't be funny. However, I really think I prefer Borat in small doses rather than large ones. I mean, this movie is only an hour and 20 minutes long, and it still drags. It's alot like 2004's Napoleon Dynamite. It works in a DVD environment where one can watch it in small bits and laugh at the individual sketches, but when you put it all together it's a hodgepodge that grows tiresome. As funny as the first half is, the second half drags. The final scene is hilarious, so it effectively rights itself for the conclusion, but I coudln't help feeling like it was all a bit too much. I was on Borat overload. I've also begun to wonder just how well Borat's humor will hold up years down the road. This film has undoubtedly earned a place in pop-culture and film history, decades from now some college sudent like me will be thumbing through the film lists of yesteryear and see this one. He'll download it, or whatever it is we'll be doing by then, and it's odd to imagine what he'd think. Shock humor does not hold up. pushing the envelope makes an audience drop their jaw now, but it will be old hat in the coming years. Does Borat have any other substance to it than it's shocking way of pushing the boundaries of comedy? I'm not so sure. If we look past the goofy voice and the jokes about jews and retards, do we find comic genius underneath, or is that as deep as it goes? Again, I'm not so sure, but it's something to think about. Especially now when I'm trying to come up with a rating and recommendation for this picture. Of course I recommend it, it's a great time, it's funny as hell, but I'l have to give it a slightly mediocre rating just on the basis of it never really deviated from the show. It wasn't much from what you'll find on YouTube, but it was a great addition to the Borat canon. Screw it, I'm overthinking this thing, it was a great time. I like Borat! Is nice! I'm sure I'll spend plenty of time watching this in some form or another as my friends are bound to pick up the DVD, it'll be fun as hell. I'm sure you'll find it fun too. Also, I've completely run out of things to say so let's just wrap this thing up, shall we?

Basically, see Borat. Go for it, maybe not in the theater, as I've already said, but at some point I think you probably should. In fact, I'll say that you definitely should. It's funny. It's fun. It's nice. It's good. So, yeah, what more do you need? I don't have anything else to say, seriously. I guess I could just keep filling the review with adjectives that describe it as good in case any of those TV spots want to quote me. Hilarious! Flat-out Great Comedy! Cohen is Comedic Gold! The Feel Good Movie Event of the Year! Yay! Yeah, that's all I've got. Two thumbs up and all that.