In the golden days of yesteryear, we had the good-natured fun of Candid Camera. Today we have shows like Punk'd, Jackass (on TV and in the movies), and now Sacha Baron Cohen's mockumentary Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan . To call this comedic genius would be an overstatement. What Borat does is successfully capitalize on audiences primed for this kind of "comedy" by movies such as Jackass 1 and 2.
Unlike those movies, however, this one actually has plot: Borat leaves his beloved Kazakhstan to make a documentary about American culture. Once he makes his way to New York City, Borat falls in love with C.J. Parker while watching Baywatch. His love/obsession with Pamela Anderson is the impetus for his cross-country trip from New York To California; now, though, his primary goal is to marry Pamela Anderson.
Once again, the limits of what passes for humor groan under pressure. Much of the film's schtick is offensive and incredibly tasteless, but that's exactly what its intended audience is looking for. Some say that Cohen is attempting to put a mirror up for us to look at ourselves and laugh. Maybe you'll give him that credit for that "genius", maybe not. But along the way, you can't help but laugh as Borat makes stops throughout Middle America, interacting with regular folk who seem oblivious to his whole gig.
Through this racist, sexist, homophobic and syntactically challenged character (or caricature), we get some genuinely funny tense moments, like when Borat goes to buy a car that comes with a "special" magnet to attract women. But then there is the scatological humor that was slightly more palatable than in the Jackass 1 and 2 movies and the scene-stealer for 2006, and perhaps of all time: the seemingly unending (and I do mean unending) naked wrestling match between Borat and his buddy Azamat (Ken Davitian).
As political satire, this falls somewhere within the realm of mediocre. The humor - depending on your age - will either tickle your funnybone or totally repulse you. At eighty-two minutes, the length is just perfect; any longer, and one begins to fear what other issues Borat might tackle. The bottom line is that this movie did huge business here and abroad, so the jokes and humor - or the depravity thereof - must transcend all language and cultural boundaries. If you like Punk'd, Jackass 1 or 2, or The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, this is right up your alley.
|action | animation | art house/international | comedy | documentary | drama | family | horror/sci-fi | suspense | television|
|contact | home|