Kazakh reporter Borat is sent to the United States to learn about American culture, but instead becomes obsessed with marrying Pamela Anderson.
Directed by Larry Charles
Written by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines,
Peter Baynham, Dan Mazer
Starring Sacha Baron Cohen, Ken Davitian,
Luenell, Pamela Anderson
Spin-Off of the 2000-2004 TV series Da Ali G Show
Oscar Nominations - Best Adapted Screenplay
Sacha Baron Cohen is either mentally ill or an absolute genius. With his Kazakh reporter character Borat, he traversed the American landscape and revealed some of the darkest, most backward parts of this country. People who hated homosexuals and wanted to hang them for fun, people who were okay with murdering Jews, and crazy religious nuts who spoke in tongues. And that's just scratching the surface. In 2006, Borat became a pop culture phenomenon. I remember people quoting it left and right, and with the release of the sequel on Amazon, it felt like it was time to revisit this wacky mockumentary.
Cohen does a fantastic job playing Borat, and using the character to see just how far he can push unsuspecting strangers before they push back. The movie can be pretty gross at times, like when he has a naked wrestling match with his overweight costar Ken Davitian. But for the most part, Borat pokes fun at America's racist underbelly and the dumbest citizens we've got. It doesn't really have much of a narrative, which is why I don't think it deserves that nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. But the situations are so insane and the lengths that Cohen is willing to go are pretty insane.
Ultimately, Borat is Sacha Baron Cohen's greatest commercial success, but I still think Ali G wins as his best character. This movie is remembered more today for its sound bites than for the film itself, which is fairly weak in story but excels in shock value and satire. It's crazy what we latch onto as a culture, isn't it?