|Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation | Release Date: November 3, 2006||CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION|
Not since the halcyon days of Archie Bunker and "All in the Family" has so sharp a wit punctured so many balloons.
This feature-length expansion of Cohen's deliciously ridiculous character accomplishes what decades of Soviet propaganda failed to do: It points out and underscores issues of race, religious intolerance, classism, and all manner of very American social ills by giving the culprits just enough rope to hang themselves by their own petards (and then some). Read full review
With his corrosive brand of take-no-prisoners humor that scalds on contact, Cohen is the most intentionally provocative comedian since Lenny Bruce and early Richard Pryor, with a difference. For unlike those predecessors, there is a mean-spiritedness, an every-man-for-himself coldness about his humor. The one kind of laughter you won't find in Borat is that which acknowledges shared humanity. Instead, there is that pitiless staple of reality TV, watching others humiliate themselves for our viewing pleasure. Read full review
The weapon wielded by Cohen and Charles is crudeness. People today, especially those in public life, can disguise prejudice in coded language and soft tones. Bigotry is ever so polite now. So the filmmakers mean to drag the beast out into the sunlight of brilliant satire and let everyone see the rotting, stinking, foul thing for what it is. When you laugh at something that is bad, it loses much of its power.
The gimmick is simple but devastatingly effective: Never once breaking character or acknowledging that he’s in on the joke, the Jew-fearing, grammatically challenged reporter ingratiates himself with his unsuspecting, average-American victims before uproariously turning the tables on them. Read full review
Except for a screamingly funny climax in which he attempts to kidnap Pamela Anderson (who reportedly wasn't in on the joke), I found the Borat feature (directed by Larry Charles, who does similar duties on "Curb Your Enthusiasm") depressing; and the paroxysms of the audience reinforced the feeling that I was watching a bearbaiting or pigsticking. Read full review
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