Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)
Succeeded by: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)
British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen takes his long-time companion and character Borat Sagdiyev to the movies, toying with stereotypes, prejudice and people's uncritical relation to politics and media. A lot of the film's potency relies greatly on its fine balance between realism and fiction. Coming off as a road movie with elements of documentary, Baron Cohen has a creative approach, ridiculing the simplistic, outdated Kazak way of life explicitly and Americanism implicitly. He has quite a few good points, but also some very questionable angles (including the motivation for the all-out and unexplained attack on Kazakhstan). The writing isn't good enough to be able to justify and accumulate all the satirical criticism the film scatters around. And it also isn't funny enough to avoid the embarrassing moments. Borat is actually at its best in its physical comedy and as a character study. This is where Baron Cohen shows his talents as a comedian and his impressive dive into character. He is helped greatly, however, by Ken Davatian who delivers what is arguably one of the bravest physical performances so far this millennium at least. But unfortunately, as a political and satirical comment, Borat isn't quite intelligent enough.