Mix equal parts of Archie Bunker with the Wild and Crazy Guys from vintage Saturday Night Live and you get Borat. As you probably know by now—20th Century Fox has been quite aggressive in getting the word out— Borat Sagdiyev is a reporter from Kazakhstan sent to the United States to make a documentary about life in America. Once there he becomes obsessed with Pamela Anderson and travels across the country to meet her and make “sexytime.”
He’s the outrageously mustachioed creation of Sasha Baron Cohen, a fearless British guerilla comic, who plants himself in real situations and under the pretext of learning about America spouts incredibly, gobsmackingly ignorant statements in broken English. The amazing—and amazingly funny—thing about the film is how often regular people agree with him. At a rodeo in Virginia he gets cheers from the crowd when he announces that “Premier George W. Bush will drink the blood of every man, woman and child in Iraq,” and there is a scene in a Winnebago with a group of frat boys that made me despair for the next generation.
Not since Archie first called Mike Stivic a “meathead” has a mainstream entertainment used comedy so effectively to expose the racist, gun-obsessed, misogynist, gay-bashing, anti-Semitic, ignorant heartland of America. Although it should be noted that I’m sure we’re only seeing one one-millionth of the footage shot and all the people who disagreed with Borat’s boorish ramblings were left on the cutting room floor.
This movie is not for the easily upset. Borat is an equal opportunity offender, it’s raunchy and coarse, but also insightful and those who get the joke will be rewarded with breathless laughter. Borat is funny, spleen-bursting funny, although you may catch yourself wondering if these are the kind of jokes you should be laughing at.