Plot: Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen) is a television reporter from Kazakhstan, where is a popular persona and sixth most famous man in the nation. But as a journalist, his skills could do so much to improve his homeland, so he is assigned to travel to America and learn about the culture. Once he has acquired a wealth of data, he will return and help implement America’s culture in Kazakhstan, to help enhance the quality of life for the entire country. And if he fails, he will be executed. Soon he arrives in New York and begins to soak in the local culture, but then he sees a television show that changes his life, a show known as Baywatch. As soon as he sees Pamela Anderson, he falls in love and knows he must have her. Against the wishes of his producer, Borat alters the entire trip in order to head toward California, so he can find Pamela. But is this true love or just a sick obsession destined to end in tragic circumstances?
Entertainment Value: A mix of scripted humor and hidden camera antics, Borat was a smash hit and became a pop culture phenomenon. While the character had been around as part of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Ali G television show, it would reach meteoric heights with this feature length adventure. If you’ve seen Borat’s segments on the television show, then you know about what to expect, as he interacts with various unaware citizens and descends into absurd discussions. As Borat, Cohen is able to project a naive, fish out of water vibe that gets people to open up to him and overlook his offensive comments, at least for a while. How far Borat can push the people he interacts with is the main humor here, as some struggle to remain kind despite his comments, while others embrace his offensive rhetoric and even escalate it. He is a little heavy handed and over the top, but as he wants to provoke a reaction, any reaction really, it makes sense within his style of humor. Some of the scripted scenes fail to entertain, but others are home runs, such as the wild, naked fight between Borat and Azamat. I loved the Borat segments on the television show and while the movie doesn’t always capture that same magic, it is often hilarious and always absurd fun. The massive success of the movie also ensured a sequel would never happen, but we will always have those television scenes and this wild, off the rails movie.
The lone nakedness is when Borat and Azamat have a nude confrontation that escalates into a wild brawl. Most of the naughtiest bits are censored or obscured, but a lot of man ass is seen and when Azamat sits on Borat’s face, his ballsac is seen numerous times, dangling over Borat’s face. The scene is riotous fun and never fails to make laugh, so unless you’re terrified of testicles, you’ll be ok here. No blood. The violence in this movie is limited to the nude slapfight, people running scared from a chicken, and Borat’s less than subtle proposal method. No even mildly tense scenes as far as violence, though a fake bear head is seen at one point in a refrigerator. The dialogue in Borat is one great line after another, as he spins this whirlwind of naive, but offensive rhetoric to stir up his often unaware costars. A lot of lines would become pop culture fodder, perhaps none more so than “Very nice, I like” and other recurring catch phrases, but there’s a lot of hilarious, off the wall one off lines as well. I love the scene where Borat interacts with a group of feminists, for example. You might not like his methods or approach, but the end result is hilarious, even when highly inappropriate. In terms of craziness, talking to Alan Keyes about a rubber fist used for sexual purposes is pretty wild, as are most of the scenes with unaware people. He pushes too much at times, like the early scene with the news anchor, but most of the time, he is on point and is able to produce some crazy, hilarious in the moment stuff. The naked brawl also has to earn a point, as it reaches levels of absurdity I can’t help but appreciate.
Overall Insanity: 4/10