The Reel Review
Sacha Baron Cohen is Borat, a TV journalist from Kazakhstan who has come to the United States to learn about American culture in this satirical mockumentary, that is just as hilarious today as it was when it premiered in 2006.
Cohen’s comedy is a crude, ridiculous, cleverly crafted send-up of the veneer of civility that (at that time, at least) masked the nation’s underbelly of overt racism, homophobia, misogyny, and religious intolerance. Best of all, Borat is hysterical, as the clueless gypsy and Jew-hating buffoon, traveling cross country with his producer in a dilapidated ice cream truck in his quest to make “nice sexy time” with “ideal American woman,” Baywatch’s Pamela Anderson (who is fabulous in the finale, by the way).
The genius of Borat is the unchallenged reactions Cohen elicits from his unsuspecting cadre of racists, homophobes, misogynists and religious bigots, who incredibly think he is real. And then there is that nude wrestling scene with Borat and his producer – something you will never be able to unsee.
The juxtaposition of huge belly laughs and shocking observations results in a satire that is pure, awkwardly comic genius. Uh… high five!
• Sacha Baron Cohen won a Golden Globe for Best Actor – Comedy/Musical for Borat and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for the film.
• In the film, Cohen, who is Jewish, is actually speaking Hebrew (with a strong really fake Eastern European accent) not Kazakh, which makes the anti-Semitic satire an even funnier inside joke in Israel, where the film was a huge hit.
• The Kazakh village that served as Borat’s hometown is actually a village in Moroieni, Romania.