Borat pokes fun at Americans’ ignorance, fears

Brandon Van Meter

Brandon Van Meter

The pace is unrelenting and scathingly hilarious as Borat (played by Sacha Baron Cohen), along with his producer Azamat Bagatov (played by Ken Davitian), are sent by Kazakhstani TV to report on life in the USA in “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.”

Even from the opening credits, the rest of the audience and I were chuckling to the crazy antics of the two touring America. Almost every race, religion, creed and sexual orientation is assaulted in this unblinking and delightfully untactful review of our society.

The juxtapositions of ideas in the movie are what define the comedy, and more importantly, the social consciousness depicted.

The premise here is that Borat, a TV reporter, pulls both average and esteemed members of society into his grasp and gradually increases the heat with ludicrous questions. The ignorance of Borat only mirrors the same social ineptness of the trusting and willing.

As soon as he begins his “reporting,” he becomes a steamroller crashing from New York City through the Deep South towards California.

It must be said that this movie features some of the most grotesque and awfully tasteless scenes I’ve ever seen in a comedy. Borat. a blatant anti-Semite, is also totally bereft of respect for women and features the manners of a five-year-old.

The jokes are universally subversive, from blatant bigotry to numerous jokes based around fecal matter. It features a laundry list of every social taboo we hold dear in this country. Some find it needlessly bizarre and disgusting, while others (including myself) will find the charm and humor in taking advantage of helpless citizens with a sick and twisted sense of humor.

The Borat character was originally featured as part of a 30-minute show, “Da Ali G Show,” and is not the first movie done from this source material. “Ali G Indahouse” (2002) was a wish-washy extension of the brilliant TV show that lacked wit and substance. “Borat” is a completely different beast, brimming with comedic commentary and material. Sacha Baron Cohen and Anthony Hines did a wonderful job with the writing and flow of the film.

The pacing is superbly fashioned in most of the movies, but sometimes, the jokes can be lacking.

Granted, when the movie features a five-minute segment of two men wrestling naked, it’s hard to fault the writing team. I almost puked from laughing so hard.

It was also a delight to see Larry Charles, director of “Seinfeld,” take the helm as director, adding effortlessness to the humor.

Other movies that study American society seem intent on damning the USA with its own objectives. Borat attacks and mocks the fears and ignorance of this country by being a spoof all in itself. Borat is endearing as a main character and is witty and rebellious by the virtue of ignorance. Obscurity is the norm in this “mockumentary” and calling the humor gross is an understatement.

This film is a purely entertaining, on-the-floor-laughing type of movie that graces the screen only once in a great while.