Opening 2 Nov 2006
Journalist Borat travels to New York from his home, Kuczek, Kazakhstan, to learn things of benefit to his country, such as “beautiful womens, democracy and porno.” Upon arrival, Borat experiences a subway and an elevator for the first time. He interviews a panel of feminists. However, the lure of meeting Pamela Anderson causes him to set off for California in an ice cream truck, after taking driving lessons. Accompanied by his producer Azamat Bagatov, he traverses Washington, D.C., Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, etc. Along the way he speaks pidgin English with an Eastern European accent to Americans in an etiquette class, a gay pride parade, an antique shop (where he breaks many things), a fraternity, etc. He opens a rodeo in Salem, Virginia, by singing the Kazakhstan national anthem to the tune of the Star Spangeled Banner.
Borat is a character created by Sacha Baron Cohen of Da Ali G Show fame. He is totally outrageous from coast to coast always leading people on to reveal their “racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, jingoism and hypocrisy” as accurately listed in the press information. Cohen stays in character and his victims never realize that they are the butt of the joke. This is just as funny as Da Ali G Show, except that the jokes become repetitious in the end. Possibly he is best in short skits; a lot of Borat goes a long way. I can imagine that Cohen (and possibly Michael Moore) will soon become too well-known, making it impossible to talk to people incognito in order to elicit idiotic remarks. How did he manage to release the film without being arrested or sued by everyone in it? And how much is real and how much is contrived? He is assisted by Larry Charles (Seinfeld) and Jay Roach (Austin Powers films). (Becky Tan)