Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ October 29, 2007

The second film in the Cohen trilogy based on his original character creations that we all saw within his Ali G show. Now even though these characters are all very clever creations and work well within the BBC comedy, the films varied. Myself I always thought Ali G was his best and funniest creation offering killer satirical comedy, but the movie of that character turned out to be quite poor and not overly funny surprisingly. 'Bruno', his third film and final original character was easily the next best character offering outrageously embarrassing homosexual tomfoolery, the film also lived up to that brilliantly.

Borat has always been somewhere in the middle for me, the character never really came across that funny on the Ali G show with the small sequences, I thought it slowed the show down. Of course his character is suppose to be simple, backwards, slow, dull, dated etc...that's part of the stinging gag that Eastern Europe is slightly primitive and centuries out of date (dare I say medieval? yes I dare). But working with this angle can also be risky as the jokes can be slow coming and childishly simple, Borat himself being on the same intelligence and life experience level as a child to a degree (when outside his native country).

So it did come as a surprise when this film actually turned out to be very very good, very amusing, highly awkward to watch at times and totally beat Cohen's first foray into the movies in 'Ali G Indahouse'. The main change to the programme here is the fact the plot is strung together around individual sequences showing Cohen making an ass of himself in dreadful cringe-inducing situations. Unlike Ali G where the film was spun into a proper full blown story with actual characters that you didn't care about whilst ruining the background myth of Ali G at the same time. This film merely introduces a sidekick who directs Borat as he goes across America making a documentary for the benefit of his homeland Kazakhstan...oh and searching for Pamela Anderson.

So just like the little sketches on the Ali G show we see Borat meeting various Americans, visiting various places of interest and generally showing himself up as the innocent wet behind the ears traveller who has no clue how to conduct himself in the modern western world. This film easily tops the TV show sketches for embarrassing moments, its like a car know the rest. Some of the things we see are just unbelievable, apart from much blatant racism against Jewish folk (Cohen's favourite), we meet a racist all American cowboy at a Texas rodeo who accuses Borat of looking like a terrorist down to his moustache. More racism in the South as Borat tries his hand at etiquette lessons (again) from some clearly well to do religious white folk, the funny twist being Borat's fat black hooker girlfriend turning up at the door. Full scale nudity of course, can't not have a bit of full scale public nudity (oh geez!), breaking stuff in a Confederate heritage museum (more obvious racial undertones) and finally assaulting Pamela Anderson in a Virgin Megastore (that shows the films age!).

Being America it is too easy for Cohen, the targets are so obvious and so simple to set up...racism, all American jingoism and homophobia are always gonna be his weapons of mass embarrassment. He sets his sights on these and hits them spot on, be it an old person, a young person, a famous/political person or even a crowd, Cohen can tease xenophobia or discrimination out of anyone with his naive questions and general approach.

While the film does feel more like an extended version of the TV sketches that was to be expected. It was also expected that whatever Cohen got up to here it would be bigger and bolder than ever before, that was certainly achieved. It starts off slow and ends kinda flat but unsurprisingly those are the sequences where Borat is a character within a films plot, its only when he ventures into the reality of everyday America that the film comes alive. Unfortunately the film is riddled with offensive moments which will and have upset many people which I can understand, unlike South Park the film isn't an animated cartoon so it feels more intense.

To a degree you could say that all the commotion surrounding the film only goes to prove it did what it set out to do, Cohen hit the nail on the head. Most will know of this character and Cohen's antics from TV, you know what to expect and get what you pay for, if you don't like this guys brand of humour then you know not to see this, it will offend. Although I do wonder how some of these people carry on their regular lives after being somewhat exposed in this film, that is if they are not actors of course, its actually very hard to tell in my opinion but I'm sure some may be. After the disappointing Ali G flick Cohen pulls it back and produces a great slice of wince-inducing shameful humiliation that will leave you with a sheepish grin plastered across your red face.

Super Reviewer
½ August 1, 2013
It's crude, offensive, satirical and emphatic in the funniest of ways. Sacha Baron Cohen is brilliant as Borat. This mockumentary of a cross-country trip around America from the eyes of a joyous tourist explores the truthful and boasting culture of American society. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is a pushy film that is highlighted by the characterization of its main character and morality of the trek across a nation. 3.5/5
Super Reviewer
May 15, 2013
Disgusting. It isn't funny to be made to feel uncomfortable for other people for 83 minutes unless you have a serious personality flaw.
Super Reviewer
June 4, 2010
Why would anyone like this movie. Such a stupid movie. It's not even that funny.
Super Reviewer
July 18, 2007
My guess is that here is a film for some, but not for others. I am in the latter group. While pretending to spoof a poor Third World nation, it's actually a shot at American sensitivities, which is okay ... if it had've been as advertised: funny. But nooo. Blech.
Super Reviewer
February 11, 2012
Cohen gives a daring and terrific performance in this is hilarious mockumentary that is partly scripted, but mostly unscripted/ridiculous stunts that shock the people they involve. Borat is an edgy film that shows the real America, but in a laugh out loud, side splitting manner. This is a great film.
Super Reviewer
May 28, 2012
Brilliant, hilarious and eye opening, Borat never drags, never bores, and offers up a series of memorable scenes.
Directors Cat
Super Reviewer
½ October 1, 2011
The thing that Baron Cohen does better then most comedians is that he doesn't try to be racist for laughs. Its something that naturally comes out of his character. He somehow manages to create a lovable hilarious and honestly believable and truthful character who is pretty much the exact image of most racist people and then still manages to make the racism look funny.
Super Reviewer
October 29, 2011
A brilliant, outrageously funny film, which at points makes it the most successful, most racist yet hilarious documentary of both it's year and of all time.
Super Reviewer
October 6, 2011
Hilarious film. It pushes all types of boundaries and holds nothing back. Although it's branded as pure improv, there are moments where the film seems scripted; that's the only problem I have with this movie.
Super Reviewer
½ September 18, 2011
I enjoyed this film somewhat, but I felt that the hype killed it for me, slight. The film is very funny, but with each viewing, the humor actually becomes stale. The jokes got old pretty fast. However, despite this, there are some good comedic moments in this film. This film is a pretty decent comedy, but it's not a masterpiece that so many people have claimed it to be. Borat is a very crude and vulgar comedy, and at times it does make you feel uneasy. I liked the film, but I can't say it is an excellent comedy. I really felt like this was an overrated film, and that the hype killed the film. There are some pretty funny moments on-screen, but this isn't the type of comedy that will stand the test of time. I don't think that Borat is that great, and it's the perfect example of a film that has been killed by the hype. Borat for me, at least was funny the first two times I saw it. Afterwards, the gags got old, and irritating. I'm not that big a fan of Baron Cohen, but I have to say of the three films of his characters, Borat is the best one, and that's not saying much. Borat is good for a laugh, but it doesn't demand repeated viewings like many other comedies that are still funny after numerous viewings. Borat is a decent comedy, but in the long run, it gets tiring. An entertaining film, but not the best comedy that I've seen.
Super Reviewer
July 19, 2007
This is SICK!
Super Reviewer
June 24, 2011
Very, very funny! I love Sascha Baron Cohen! A must see!
Super Reviewer
½ March 23, 2011
Funniest movie I have see in a long time.
Super Reviewer
½ December 31, 2006
A very funny film showing the cultural divide between the two countries. Some of it is a bit gross, in poor taste but mainly just plain silly. It can be a bit hit and miss at times. Although the scenes and reactions of some of the people he meets on his journey are very funny, very hard to believe they generally took him seriously!
Super Reviewer
½ March 28, 2007
4 and a half stars
Super Reviewer
June 30, 2007
"I had learned that if you chase a dream, especially one with plastic chests, you can miss the real beauty in front of your eyes."

Reviewing Borat is a bit of a conundrum, because I had to decide on a score based one either how funny it was when it originally came out, or how funny I find it to be now, after I've seen it about six times. The latter won out, which is why my score is a little lower than it would have been four years ago.

The first time I saw Borat still ranks among the top two funniest theater experiences that I've ever had (Team America: World Police holds the other spot). The whole theater was in stitches and gasping for breath, and my group was no exception. There may be a method to Sacha Baron Cohen's madness and a genuine message about intolerance and bigotry underneath this movie, but the humor is crass, low-brow, raunchy, and absolutely hilarious.

I won't bother to explain the Borat phenomenon, because I'm sure anyone who's in any way remotely interested has known about it for several years. The movie still holds up pretty well, and while some of the shocks and audacity of it don't make as much of an impact any more, Cohen's bumbling, anti-Semetic, misogynistic, gleefully offensive character still does. If you have somehow missed seeing this and you enjoy comedy like South Park, watching Borat will make your face turn blue. And I mean that in a good way.
Super Reviewer
June 26, 2010
a hilarious, great, real movie. A-
Super Reviewer
½ January 18, 2010
Can be very gay and stupid at times! However, Sacha Baron Cohen makes this movie pass with flying colours!
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