Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006) * Weird & Wacky *


Eesh, that's a big brass pair.

Genre: Comedy Mockumentary

Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen ("Da Ali G Show"), Ken Davitian

Directed By: Larry Charles ("Curb Your Enthusiasm")

Overview: When a Kazakhstani decides to tour America and bring home his lessons of learning, he also teaches America a thing or two along the way.


When I first heard of Ali G, I thought he was for real. He was MC or at least category presenter for some awards ceremony and he was proudly, misogynistically shouting, "From pussy we come and to pussy we return!" Then he was in a Madonna video groping women lasciviously. It took years before I learned that this was merely a character created by Sasha Cohen, as was Borat. Well it seems that Borat is the crud scrapings that float to the top of this unimaginative bouillon called "Da Ali G Show". Some would call that the 'cream of the crop'. I suppose I'd have to agree. Doesn't mean I'm going to watch the show, but it does mean that Sasha's made a name for himself with his talent, and for as much as I tried, I couldn't figure out exactly which interviewees were in on the joke and which weren't. Honest reporting gets honest reactions.
Rating: 9


Just like you'd expect, a mockumentary like Borat doesn't break away from any established style, but what puts this over the top is the Kazakhstani flair: the village filled with typical Eastern Europeans, the inferior and muddy video clips taken off 'Kazakhstani television' with all the quirky foreign graphics, even the subtitles. You can tell a lot went into the cultural. You should get a kick out of that.
Rating: 8


"May George Bush drink the blood of every man, woman, and child in Iraq!" - Borat, addressing crowd at rodeo, in support of 'America's War Of Terror' (above)

Then all of a sudden, you have the likes of social commentary in double-entendre context that could never be created by any other character, and at the same time doing it in the American heartland, at a rodeo... talk about the lion's den. There are many hilarious things about this film. You'll be sure to count among the wittiest the language barrier jokes and the cultural misunderstandings.
Rating: 8


From Kazakhstan a man goes to America to make a documentary about America. He becomes so enamoured with Pamela Anderson that he needs to find and marry her, so he drives from New York to California, through the bible belt, making stops along the way to learn culture. My favorite scene would be that final meeting with Pamela. The nude man wrestling/chase through the hotel that spills into a busy convention hall, not so much.
Rating: 8


Ok time for, as recently discussed, the nitty-gritty of this post, it's raison d'être, the observation I invite you all to nod and ponder and tout the wisdom of: many of you know that Dave Chappelle quit his show because he was afraid of sending the wrong message, fostering racism rather than marching it out into the streets for a much deserved lynching. I submit to you that Borat is the kind of film that Dave Chappelle would squirm just thinking about for the same reason. Firstly, to say that Sacha Baron Cohen does this to heighten awareness, to reduce bigotry and teach Americans along the way that there are other, less privileged people out in the world is quite probable. More probable is that Sasha knows how funny his character is based on its own merit. Since we know so very little about Kazakhstan, it's easy to make fun of, being ever so generic. One day Sasha may wrestle with that demon himself, mockery of a people versus bringing to light the microcosm America lives in. Until then, picture bags with a big dollar sign in each hand in the photo below...
Rating: 8

Wadda lovely zoot!

Overall Rating: 82% (Make For Good Sexy Time!)

It's funny how when I was 18 watching 3 Ninjas for the fifth time just because it was on Pay TV again and I didn't want to be bothered to flip to something else, I considered films like this worthy of no more mindspace than a rainy Sunday morning would warrant before my friends showed up to play Dungeons & Dragons. Talk about a deep dark look into the Squish. Though 3 Ninjas has been replaced with classic fare, and for as much as I enjoyed Cultural Learnings of America, I can't see past the Sunday morning 'laugh to myself in private' experience this invites. Yes it's the most highborn of the toilet humour, with the greatest social commentary for its kind, but 8 minutes of naked men running around and wrestling with their nuts in each others faces... I guess I like my toilet humour a bit more Avant-Garde...

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