Borat: Cultural Learnings of America on Both Sides of the Camera

Perhaps the best way to review this wild satiric film is to get inside the head of Borat, the lead character: Jagshemash! Borat number one in U. S. and A. box office! High Five! Ingredients for make good movie, show racist Americans how stupid they are: find first really smart British/Jewish comedian; add naïve foreigner; mix with rednecks and city slickers for make big laughs at expense of Americans.

By Jared Craig

Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazahkstan.” Borat travels across America and is an equal opportunity offender. He never directly makes fun of anyone he is interviewing but their answers to his questions make them the butt of his jokes anyway. When Borat isn’t making fun of Middle America, he is making ridiculously prejudice remarks; that happen to be funny. Borat makes the audience laugh, and then cringe, begging the question, “Why was that crude joke so funny?”

Baron Cohen is amazing at committing to Borat’s naiveté making it almost forgivable that he says things like “We decided to not take airplane should the Jews repeat their attack of 9/11.” It should be mentioned that Baron Cohen is Jewish himself and throughout much of the movie makes anti-Semitic remarks. In one conversation with a man at a gun shop he asks, “What is the best gun for killing a Jew?” The man replies, “Probably a nine millimeter.” These shocking remarks bring prejudice to the forefront in a pill that is easy to swallow; comedy. In the theatre, I couldn’t help laughing out loud, then left the movie feeling overwhelmed by some of the horrible things I had seen and heard. Is America really like this?

Yes, America is like this! The reason his crude comedy works is because he plays a close minded foreigner from Middle Asia unaware of political correctness issues, but Borat shows the same prejudice coming from Americans. Borat travels from New York to Georgia, across the southern states to California and the census is the same: bigotry lives. All of his interviews are with real people who know that they are being filmed, but they are not staged. All of the dialogues are people’s genuine reactions to Borat’s lewd behavior. These scenes are mixed with some scenes which were written to progress the plot (yes there is actually a plot).

“Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazahkstan” constantly evaluates what makes something funny and why. Borat even interviews a humorist to try to solve this mystery. Baron Cohen has already been credited with a cultural revolution, and for remaking the face of comedy. Can comedy teach moral lessons? Translated in Borat-speak: Can peoples make laugh time and uses brains to say ‘What makes jokes?’ It is clear that comedy can serve a purpose. Borat makes us look at ourselves to try to find answers and by leaving the answer open, Baron Cohen allows for the millions of different answers to “Why is that funny?” Baron Cohen uses Borat as a tool to bring up these questions rather than answers. See Borat, answer for yourself, and walk away singing, “Kazahkstan greatest country in the world, all other countries are run by little girls.”


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