Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Borat (2006)

Starring Sacha Baron Cohen, Ken Davitian, et al
Rated R, 84 minutes

Unless you enjoy being under a rock, you know what this one’s about already. But, if I must – Borat, hilariously subtitled “Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” is the tale of Borat Sagdiyev (Cohen), a journalist from Kazakhstan who is assigned the task of making a film about America by his country’s Minister of Information.

And with that rollicking description, off we go. Again, unless you live under a rock, you know this is a send-up. He travels with his producer Azamat (Davitian) to New York to see America. Quickly, he develops a fascination with Pamela Anderson and decides to road trip to California to meet her.

What’s good about the movie is its base idea. They’ve set a plot to “Jackass” and/or “Daily Show”-esque bits. And before I get angry comments, yes, he did this on the “Ali G Show” prior. They’re just nice catch-all terms. The stops along his trek either see him performing stupid acts to a bewildered audience, or making unwitting fools of people. With rare exception, everybody in this movie is an unsuspecting mark to Borat’s comedy. It's unique, cool, and funny.

But notice how I refer to two TV shows there. There are funny moments, but the feeling for me overall after leaving the theater was mixed. The best way I could find to describe my feeling was that the movie perhaps would’ve made a really memorable TV special, but not an unforgettable film as many others lauded it to be. I have no huge desire to see it again, but if somebody were watching it in my living room, I’d likely sit on the couch and watch it to the end. Like a number of “Jackass” bits, the joke’s less funny once you know what’s coming. A lot hinges on the first impression.


This is the score I settled upon. Didn’t feel comfortable going any higher, nor did I feel it deserved any less. Perhaps it was the hype from my peers that dragged the score down.

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