It is true. Believe the hype. “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” is hands-down the funniest movie you will see this year – possibly this decade.What can only be described as pure genius, “Borat” is a movie based on the sketch of the same name on HBO’s “Da Ali G Show.”
It follows the story of journalist Borat Sagdiyev (Sacha Baron Cohen, “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” and “Da Ali G Show”) who leaves his native land of Kazakhstan for America.
Borat travels from New York to California while filming his documentary, which is the most expensive film ever made for Kazakhstan costing 48 million tenge – the equivalent of $5,000 – to learn what makes America so great and report his findings back to the government.
The central plot line, if you want to call it that, forms after Borat sees an episode of “Baywatch” and falls in love with the one and only C.J. Parker (Pamela Anderson).
He convinces his only companion on the trip to leave New York and travel to California to get a full understanding about what America has to offer.
Borat learns a number of lessons during his journey across the states.
“Along my travelings, I learn many new things about America,” Borat says. “For example, that it is no longer legal to shoot at Red Indians. Once again, I apologize with all my heart to the staff of the Potawatomi Casino in Kansas.”
This is just one example of the many outrageously funny misunderstandings Borat comes across because he is unfamiliar with American customs.
The film pokes fun at the obvious American stereotypes: From the dumb Southerners and the drunken fraternity men, to the elderly and many more.
The beauty of Borat is that everyone in the movie truly tries to help the journalist learn the American way, and before the scene is over, each and every one of them is fed up with him.
The tactics used to help “Borat” maintain its “keep-everyone-in-the-dark” strategy often gets the cast and crew in trouble with the local law enforcers.
In New York, a warrant was issued for Baron Cohen’s arrest. He narrowly escaped incarceration while filming a segment at a local hotel.
In order to capture a realistic cross-country adventure, the film was shot mostly out of an ice cream truck as they drove through Washington D.C., West Virginia, Virginia, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, California, Oklahoma, Alabama and South Carolina.
There are two problems with reviewing a movie such as “Borat.” One, there isn’t a whole lot you can say without giving away the gut-wrenching scenes in the movie. And two, if you require an explanation of a movie such as “Borat,” then you are not ready to see it.
The improvisation of Baron Cohen is easily the highlight of the film because the audience realizes very little of the dialogue is scripted.
“Borat” should easily earn Baron Cohen a Golden Globe nomination in the Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical category. And if there was any justice, he would receive an Academy Award nomination, too. Though, I don’t feel the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is ready to place such kudos on this type of film.
Is this film offensive? Yes. Should that stop you from going to see it? Only if you don’t mind missing out on the funniest thing to hit the big screen since “Gigli,” but the difference is this movie is intentionally funny.