Sacha Baron Cohen has a good claim to the most controversial comedian currently working today. He offends, he disgusts, he does just about anything for a laugh, and the best part is, he almost always gets it. Borat is the genesis of one of his television characters into a full fledged movie; on TV, Borat was a satirical tool used to expose people’s prejudices and discriminatory natures through how they react to the titular character, and in Borat the movie, he takes his show all across the USA, teaching all of us about the more uncomfortable sides of ourselves we’d rather not see.
The humor in Borat principally comes from Borat’s interactions with unsuspecting people, both professionals and everyday pedestrians. Most of the time, these people have no idea who he is or what he is going to do, which makes their reactions entirely spontaneous, and most importantly, shows who these people are at their most vulnerable. Of course, there’s a lot of people immediately put off by the man, but what was surprising was the number of people that would happily play along with the weird man from Kazakhstan. Even with the sometimes grotesque and blatantly offensive material, I still found myself laughing out loud more than just about any film I have seen on the list, so in this the film is a smashing success.
I was expecting a lot worse with this, and found myself pleasantly surprised. Sure, there’s moments that made me feel uncomfortable in one way or another, but that in itself is the very point, and thus the film succeeds at its goal. Would I recommend this to anyone? Of course not, there’d be way too many people that would take offense at this and not understand the point behind it. Not that this is that high-brow, but comedy is a fickle beast; you either love it or you hate it, and when you hate it, you really hate it (see my Hangover review). This, I was surprised to find, I liked. I didn’t love it, but I laughed too much for me to say I disliked it.
Arbitrary Rating: 8/10