Borat (20th Century Fox, R)

Cohen is absolutely fearless as the beating heart of this movie. He has an unmitigated commitment to every circumstance in which he finds himself as Borat.



That’s it. Even if I never go to another movie, I have officially seen it all. Feminists, genteel Southerners, prostitutes, Jewish innkeepers, rodeo riders, gay pride parades, and a black bear. Borat literally has everything.

Lucky Kazakhstani journalist Borat Sagdiyev (Sacha Baron Cohen) gets a government assignment he can’t refuse: head to “the U.S. and A” to find out how we do things while documenting the trip with a film crew. Really now, what self-respecting Kazakh man could turn down an opportunity to abandon his wife and children? Not Borat!

He heads to New York with his producer Azamat (Ken Davitian) to discover all the cultural wonders of America. It doesn’t take long for Borat to get distracted by the same thing that captures the attention of many men the world over: boobs. Borat then takes his small crew on a cross-country journey to search for the blonde bombshell he believes to be his ideal woman.

This road trip takes up the bulk of the film, and you will not be disappointed. If you’re easily offended, be sure to have a defibrillator handy. There were quite a few moments when I laughed hard and loud. There were also just as many times when I knew I was seeing something outrageously funny but was physically incapable of laughter because I could not believe what I was watching.

For example, there is a long fight scene in Borat which you will remember for the rest of your life. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you thought about it, at least a little, every day until you die. It all starts because of one little phrase: “hand party.” Other sources of delight include Borat’s startling unfamiliarity with women’s rights, religious diversity, and indoor plumbing.

Cohen is absolutely fearless as the beating heart of this movie. He has an unmitigated commitment to every circumstance in which he finds himself as Borat. Imagine the slapstick madness of Jim Carrey’s early career, multiply it by 10,000, and you get Cohen. He manages, in character, to wheedle his way into the most interesting situations, where his earnestness is probably the only thing that keeps him from getting a serious beat-down time and again.

The best part about the film is Cohen’s interactions with the real people (i.e., non-actors) he comes into contact with. Remember, they all think he’s really a Kazakh journalist. The responses Cohen culls from some of our fellow Americans are sometimes shocking and other times shockingly hilarious. You might even want to turn away, a lot, but you simply won’t be able to.

I could create catch phrases for Borat: highly offensive hilarity, frank and fearless comedy, indestructible insanity. Nothing I could come up with could do this film justice, though, because this is more than a balls-out (oh, yes: literally) comedic tour-de-force. Borat is a lunatic with heart. He’s never deliberately mean, and it’s often painfully obvious that he just doesn’t get it. So, if he tells you in a roundabout way that your wife is ugly, you can’t help but forgive the poor, backward sod. │Adrienne Jones

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