There is a fine line between being funny and being gross. But when it comes to talking about the lengthy-titled comedy BORAT: CULTURAL LEARNINGS OF AMERICA FOR MAKE BENEFIT GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN (or BORAT for short), the line eventually blurs. Spontaneous, controversial, sharp, and far-fetched, BORAT is the most jaw-dropping way to make fun of countries, both of others and yours.
So this guy's name is Borat Sagdiyev (Sacha Baron Cohen), he's a (sort of) TV news reporter from Kazakhstan. From my initial observation I personally thought that he was not as dumb as what he appeared in series of events following. I mean, he's a journalist! But then Kazakh government sent him and his producer Azamat (Ken Davitian) to United States of America to make a documentary about American society and culture, from which Kazakhstan could grab some learnings.
Things turned to a whole different way since Borat watched American television. He watched Baywatch, on which he spotted the sexually-arousing Pamela Anderson. Suddenly he lost his interest in their documentary project: he wanted to see Pamela in California so he persuaded Azamat to change their trip to California (in disguise of some reasons that California is the best state to shoot documentary and so on).
BORAT reaches the topmost bar a comedy could reach. Most people would laugh uncontrollably, and so would I, except that along the duration I can't stop thinking how could they keep up being naturally crazy. Using semi-documentary camera work to give a sense of reality, my question was if they really wrote all the craziness in the script? It feels like a reality show, but hell even reality shows are based on script.
And just because of that, viewers might have already argued about which scenes were based on script and which were improvised. Sacha Baron Cohen and Ken Davitian are the only "acting" actors. The rest? A few are cameos (including Pamela Anderson, who I doubt was handed the script), and most of the rest didn't even know they were on set of film (and series of lawsuits are following against either Sacha Baron Cohen or the production team after the film released). Because how much cleverness a screenwriter needs to write spontaneity? The answer to that would be in this incredible explanation right here (P.S.: tl;dr!)
And don't let me start with these political, satirical topic. I mean, really, they include real country? If only they based this Borat guy in some made-up, otherworldly countries (some examples: Republic of Dumbalooza, Kingdom of Lunacya—damn it, bring me some names!), the whole wickedly funny story won't feel any real. Bringing out 'Kazakhstan' as the main dish punches out the gut we, viewers with unsatisfied starve of smart comedy, have been waiting for long. Courageous is the thing that brings my laughter even louder.
Because finally, BORAT is about us. It's about us, creatures living in this one world but separated by hundreds of (imaginary) bounded areas called countries. It's about how cultures crash, it's about how people appreciate each other despite their background. Sorry if you found this offensive (it’s everything I see from the movie) but the analogy is: Borat comes from a primitive place where people don’t even know how to flush (but understand super basic English—and simple journalism!), and the people of USA are actually friendly and accepting enough to all the stupidities (?) Borat brings to the table. But how far could they be friendly when these stupidities went too far?
And by BORAT, Sacha Baron Cohen has also ultimately created a memorable character (not to mention, a memorable fashion item called mankini—NSFW). With his innocence and ‘uncivilized manner’, is it acceptable to consider Borat Sagdiyev one of our comedy icons? I believe it is.
I mean, look at him! He ran totally naked into a crowd in a meeting hall! BORAT has just been... too far, don’t you think? But whatever: that’s the art of this sick comedy.
(At some point, you might feel guilty for yourself because you laugh at all these inappropriateness.)
I am suffering from hidden guilty pleasure as I write this review, but I agree that entangling lunatic humor with socio-cultural view is the most brilliant thing a comedy could do, and thank God Sacha Baron Cohen and his absolutely creative writing team finally brought this powerful script to life. Perhaps BORAT is a one-in-a-lifetime masterpiece, because neither BRUNO nor THE DICTATOR could repeat the brilliance. Just like you, I can’t believe I laugh so loudly at this craziness. This is not about Kazakhstan: this is awesomeness.
▲ Jaw-dropping jokes, naturally comedic script, nicely-done satirical topic,
▼ Umm... well, it leaves me guilty for laughing at those inappropriateness
BORAT: CULTURAL LEARNINGS OF AMERICA FOR MAKE BENEFIT GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN | COUNTRY USA YEAR 2006 RATING Rated R for pervasive strong crude and sexual content including graphic nudity, and language RUNTIME 84 min GENRE Comedy CAST Sacha Baron Cohen, Ken Davitian WRITER Sacha Baron Cohen (screenplay, story, & character); Anthony Hines & Peter Baynham (screenplay & story); Dan Mazer (screenplay); Todd Phillips (story) DIRECTOR Larry Charles MORE INFO