Movie of the Week: Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)

Larry Charles directs Sacha Baron Cohen, Ken Davitian and Pamela Anderson in this faux documentary comedy where fake Central Asian reporter Borat interviews unsuspecting real people across the USA and falls in love.

Strange to think that because of the streaming war landscape I have yet to see Borat Subsequent Moviefilm a whole year after its release. But this original bad taste gem is still just as scene after scene hilarious. So, some of the marks seem a little more in on the joke than you noticed the first time around but only very rarely do you feel you aren’t seeing a genuine reaction or over reaction to a bit of secretly staged madness. Fifteen years on we all now seem quicker to leap to offence but this is very much a movie about challenging the very concept of taking offence. What is acceptable in one culture is near criminal in another but who are we to judge that culture? No matter how ridiculously extreme and baiting the pantomime of that culture might be. Borat still works, as for every piece of risky business stunt prank, there’s a moment of sweetness or risqué daring that feels truly transgressive and universally welcoming. Sure, there’ll be viewers who are unwilling to see the joke in its context or are too blinkered to understand the blunt force satire… For those… maybe 15 certificate comedy is not for them? I’m surprised Borat didn’t receive an 18 in all honesty. As someone who has enjoyed Sacha Baron Cohen’s guts since the The 11 O’Clock Show days I’m not surprised Kazakhstan’s finest documentarian has endured over his Ali G and his Brüno. Borat always was a character with a certain degree of sympathetic Chaplin or ungainly Tati to him, if you can overlook the rape, racism and retardation. A creation with a little grace and personality among the risks and pratfalls. His restraint to only deliver the killer death blow of impolite affront is second to none. Sure, most left outside of the Venn Diagram crossover of people who truly get this will focus on the catchphrases and mankinis. But really this is very laugh packed, a tightly run road movie that checked America’s temperature in a way it never truly sat comfortably with afterwards. Naughty, naughty.


Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.