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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan pokes serious fun at the cultural divide in this inglorious movie

My name Borat. I like you, I like sex, is nice!

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
is a seriously twisted look at the cultural millieu between nations' peoples and the results are less than glorious.

Borat made its midnight madness splash at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival complete with a team of peasant women pulling Borat in a wooden wagon. The premiere was of course marred by the projection breaking down despite the efforts of director Michael Moore who tried to save the day and fix the projector. The projector would not start up so Moore did a 20 minute question and answer with the crowd followed by a stand up routine from Borat himself!

Under the guise of Kazhaki television journalist Borat Sagdiyev, comedian Sasha Cohen who has already made his screen splash in the Ali G Indahouse movie adopts an ethnocentric moral "backward" stance to introduce the audience to his home town his relatives and neighbours, and uses his stilted broken English and smile to seduce and dupe his American subjects as he documents his learning experiences in the greatest country in the world: the United States. With his suitcase filled with one live chicken, and accompanied by his producer Azamat Bagatov who arranges interviews for him in New York, they set out to learn what they can about the United States to bring back valuable lessons to improve their way of life in Kazakhstan.

The music from Midnight Cowboy is the appropriate theme as Borat meets New York City for the first time, trying to embrance and kiss new friends, and seeing the hilarity in the American's opposite and often violent reactions. Borat learns about America from various instructors: a humour coach who tries to teach Borat what is considered funny in America, driving lessons! then purchasing a car from the ultimate car dealer [ "if I give you money can you put in pussy magnet?" ], social etiquette, how to be cool and black from street youth in Atlanta, and finding Jesus.

Whether or not these subjects have been duped or are part of the process, it seems quite amusing at first while they seemingly accept at face value this journalist from Kazakhstan they suffer the consequences of their ignorance at his hands as he pushes limits. Under the mask of guileless politic, he proceeds to insult the pastor at the dinner table and with one deed undercuts the host's declaration that despite the cultural differences, with a little more time he could become American.

Borat in his voyage of discovery of the cultural diversity across America drives in his newly bought ice cream truck from New York through the South towards California with many stops and experiences on the way to meet the woman of his dreams from tv: CJ from Baywatch - Pamela Anderson - so that he can marry her and take away her virginity. Borat tediously stretches the boundaries of manners with his attitude towards Jews of whom he is deathly afraid [ he and his producer refuse to fly and instead drive across America because they are afraid the Jews will repeat what they did on 9/11], of women's rights and sexytime. Speaking of which, there is one hairy scene we dare not mention [except it would put Shortbus to shame. review of Shortbus further down the page.]

Borat uses the charm to promote laughter while undercutting with quick one liners that will induce shock and gasps. In the end what did he learn? It is one thing to chase one's dreams of a woman with a plastic chest while ignoring the beauty that is right in front of you.

Borat so much is not so much satire but as a real cultural learning of America itself that there should be this line when it comes to race or religion.

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