:Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, From: 20th Century Fox/Film Forum, 11/9/06.  Producers: Monica Levinson, Dan Mazer, Jay Roach; Director: Larry Charles; Starring: British comedian- Sacha Baron Cohen, Kenneth Davitian.

This film pretends to be a documentary starting in Kazakhstan with a pseudo journalist named Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen) traveling to America. First to New York City, but then takes a detour across ‘red state’ America, finds its way to California, then back home again.

This is an outrageous film with lots of laughs, but also offensive, repulsive, gross, and way over the top.  Borat is an equal opportunity offender.  Lots of anti-Semitism, anti-Christianity, bigotry, and sexism on display.  And talking about display, there is far too much male nudity, including a shocking amount of frontal exposure.  The anti-Semitism goes so far that it actually ends up making fun of anti-Semites themselves.  This film is actually a ‘diabolical’ candid camera.  Sacha Cohen  as ‘Borat’, pretends to be an actual journalist from Kazakhstan making a documentary about America.  In the process, he catches a whole lot of people off guard.  An etiquette teacher he ‘interviewed’ is already suing Cohen for the humiliation she was subjected to in the movie.  She has retained Gloria Allred, this should be fun!

Particularly troubling for me, was a visit to a Pentecostal revival service where Borat supposedly receives Jesus and attempts to speak in tongues.  I’m at a loss of words to explain how truly perverse this film really is.  Yet, there I was with the rest of the audience laughing at many of the scenes. However, there is an underlying sadness to the main character, and a full range of emotions is necessary to get you through to the end.  I cannot recommend this film to anyone, but it seems to be playing well in the big cities and in ‘blue states’, not so well in Middle America and the South.

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