Tuesday 18th January 2022

Borat!: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (15)
Directed by: Larry Charles
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

You may not be familiar with Sacha Baron Cohen, but the chances are you are familiar with his alter ego Ali G. Not content with his success as the best thing on Channel 4's The 11 O'Clock Show, Cohen went on to have his own series (where he introduced us to some more of his characters) and eventually an Ali G movie. By all accounts, Ali G Indahouse was at best hit and miss, but now it is the turn of another of his comic creations, Kazakhstani television presenter Borat.

Borat incites an angry mob
Borat incites an angry mob

A lot of comedy films have aspirations to have a decent storyline, whether it be a journey of self discovery, or a romance with a happy ending. And they're usually about as funny as a war crime. Borat, however, takes a very different approach. Storyline and character development takes a back seat to the extent of near non-existence, whereas absolute hilarity is placed front and centre. From start to finish this film is laugh-out-loud, fighting-for-breath funny – nothing short of hysterical.

What little story there is, involves Borat and his TV producer travelling to America on a fact-finding mission to learn about American culture, in an attempt by the Kazakhstani government to improve their economy. Shortly after his arrival in New York, Borat falls in love with Pamela Anderson whilst watching Baywatch and decides to travel to California to marry her. If that sounds ridiculous, you wait until you see the actual content of the film.

The bulk of it is made up of Borat meeting with various members of the American public, some of whom are funny themselves, and others are just shocked and appalled by his behaviour. These scenes are linked together with what can loosely be described as sketches, which are also very, very funny. At times you will wonder how Cohen got away with filming this stuff, especially without getting beaten up, arrested or lynched, such is his affront on American society.

The last ten minutes or so are mildly less funny than the rest of the film, as it focuses more on the "story", but even this is considerably funnier than most comedy films released. So, purely as an exercise in making the audience scream with laughter for an hour and half, this film has to get full marks. As a complete film it is not perfect, but it would take something really special to be this funny and also have a proper plot or message (Monty Python's The Life of Brian anyone?).

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Length: 84 minutes
Certificate: 15
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 2nd November 2006

Top Five Rating: 90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0% (90.0%)
User Rating: 17.1%17.1%17.1%17.1%17.1%17.1%17.1%17.1%17.1%17.1% (17.1%)

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