Eh Very Niiice

by Ian T. McFarland on December 1, 2006

in Movie Reviews 

I don’t think there’s any possible way I could prepare you for the hard-edged, offensive humor that isn’t just utilised in Borat, it’s abused and raped to the point that you don’t think a more offensive film is possible.  It’s also easily one of the funniest films in a good year for comedy.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
4 Stars

There are a lot of things that are wrong in this world.  There Racists who dismiss people by the color of their skin, CEOs who care more about their bank accounts than their employees and they even cancelled Arrested Development.  But none of that, not even Arrested being cancelled, comes close to being as wrong as Borat.  You start wondering at some point if Sasha Baron Cohen created a movie with the sole intention of offending every minority on the planet.  But whatever the intent, Borat is a so foully funny it’s almost revolutionary.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan centers on Cohen playing a character named Borat Sagdiyev that he showcased in his Da Ali G Show.  The film works as a fake documentary, it’s supposedly the documnetary film of Borat traveling to the States to discover how it works.  The ultimate goal is that he will come home with ideas to rejeuvinate his home country of Kazakhstan.

Let’s just get this out of the way: If you don’t like mean humor, you can stop reading this review now.  If you feel like those punks who write South Park deserve a good talking-to every time you see a commercial for their show, then you should probably just head to The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause this weekend and forget you ever heard of this movie, because it’s offensive enough to make South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut look like the Passover special of Rugrats.  No hard feelings, but you should just stop reading the review and go to MySpace to contemplate who you want in your “Top Friends.”

Okay, now that they’re gone, let’s get down to the good stuff, because Borat has a lot of it.

Where do you start?  Greeting his friendly neighborhood rapist, making fun of his mentally-handicapped brother or going to bed afraid the Jews are going to take him in his sleep, Cohen is clearly a master of pushing buttons.  He takes stark offenses against society so far that you might expect the Government to issue a warning against letting your children go to the movie.  How the film ever got past the MPAA with a mere R is a paradox that will likely go unsolved until the next Einstein is born to answer the question.

If pushing stereotypes past the line of decency isn’t your bag, perhaps pushing gross-out humor past the line of decency is.  Only, Borat doesn’t just pass the line, it keeps going until it crosses several State Lines.  One sequence – of which I will only say involves two men – is so atrociously out of bounds that it may even make slasher movie buffs feel queasy.  I know I did.

But the most insane aspect of the movie is its reality.  We know that Cohen is acting throughout the movie, along with a few other players; but outside of four actors everyone in this movie is a real person, someone who thinks they’re a part of a documentary about a man named Borat learning about America.  You’ll get authentic Americans authentically reacting to a man who asks what to do with a Ziploc full of his own feces.  It’s a great idea that, thanks in great deal to the fake documentary style, sets this comedy apart from anything else put out in recent memory.

The only reasonable complaint is with the story.  Evident from even the commercials, the film serves as nothing but an excuse for Cohen to put together hilariously wrong sketches; but to create a competint film you need to connect all the sketches together with a story to keep the viewer’s attention.  Borat is able to do this well enough, but the scenes still feel too loose and apart to make the entire film feel united.

But it doesn’t matter.  People shouldn’t won’t see the film for its story, they’ll see Borat because it’s a politcally incorrect film that somehow works.  By being so unbelievably and morally wrong, they’ve made one of the more innovative comedies in the past decade, and if Borat is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

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