Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Today Jehangir and I saw the new “Borat” movie at Menlo Park today. We arrived at the theatre 20 minutes before it started and all the seats were packed about 5 minutes before the trailers started. The film builds upon the reports made by Borat, played by Cambridge-educated comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, who is sent by the Kazakh Ministry of Information to do a documentary of the United States for his country. He is first sent to New York City alongside his producer Azamat Bogatov, but decides to take a cross-country trip to California after seeing Pamela Anderson on Baywatch. Hilarity ensues.

What happens is Borat spends much of his adventure in the American South, which has slightly more backward values than other parts of America. However, New Yorkers were portrayed to be rude, hostile and vulgar people despite much of the focus on the American South. Much of the people Borat meets share his anti-semetic views, and even cheered when he wished Bush to “Drink the blood of every man, woman, and child in Iraq”. Overall, the movie is hilarious and I will not spoil anything. Therefore, I recommend seeing it to get an idea why it so funny and why the real Kazakh government is incredibly upset with this comedy.

On another note, some very angry overseas Kazakh youths created an anti-Borat group on facebook:

These reactions by the government and Kazakhs who have not seen the film can only generate even more interest into the Borat movie.

Press views: Borat’s movie debut

Sacha Baron Cohen’s spoof Kazakhstan reporter, Borat, makes his film debut this weekend. The film, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, follows the character on a trip across the US.

Along the way, Borat’s cultural insensitivity causes outrage amongst his unsuspecting American targets, but what do critics make of the movie?


You will laugh at Borat, you really will, but the laughter will sometimes stick in your throat.

This is partially intentional – Borat’s fiendish brand of subversive social commentary comes with an iron-clad shock-and-offend guarantee – but partially not.

We laugh out of astonishment and disbelief, out of embarrassment for what the people on screen are going through, and because we simply can’t figure out any other way to respond.

But because Sacha Baron Cohen is intentionally provocative, willing to mock whoever crosses his path, he ends up baiting the harmless and playing ordinary people for fools.

The one kind of laughter you won’t find in Borat is that which acknowledges shared humanity. Instead, there is that pitiless staple of reality TV, watching others humiliate themselves for our viewing pleasure.


If you were ever partial to a bit of Ali G, you can be forgiven any trepidation you may feel towards Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest small-to-big-screen translation. Ali G was an amusing enough creation, but what made him work satirically was seeing him interact with real people.

So when Cohen took him out of that context and placed him in his own fictional world, the result wasn’t quite the comedy riot it could have been.

With the Borat movie, Cohen has learned his lesson.

This isn’t just a few smirks and chuckles. Instead, it’s rib-crackingly, face-hurtingly, endorphin-flushingly hilarious.

Empire laughed so hard we had a full-blown asthma attack. They should slap a health warning on this movie.

After the movie, I went shopping at the mall.


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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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