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Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)

Come to Kazakhstan, It's Nice!

Rating: 9/10

Running Time: 84 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15


In 2006 a quiet, relatively unknown British comedian created a storm with a polarizing part-scripted, part-hidden-camera movie about Borat, a ficticious Kazakhstani television presenter. A skill for being offensive and getting people to say the wrong things on camera impressively got writer and star Sasha Baron Cohen hated (and sued) by a lot of people in both the US and Central Asia.

Borat Sagdiyev (Sasha Baron Cohen), Kazakhstan’s sixth most famous person, sets off on a journey across America with his producer Azamat (Davitian) to make a programme about the States and to fill in some apparently huge culture gaps. Borat manages to scare and offend a lot of everyday American Joes before he falls out with his producer and starts persuing his own American Dream.

The characterisation of Borat is fantastic. He’s naive not obnoxious and importantly, Borat is a character who is easy to emphasise with and laugh at and the public really seemed to have fallen for him during his travels across the country. Sasha Baron Cohen has got his character down to a tee and his ability to stay in character and work off the moment provides many improvised laughs and painful eeking out of bigotry from his victims that may have been lost by someone less skilled. It sometimes is hard to decide which jokes are scripted and which are genuine bits of ineptitude from the public (the dinner scene for one) and this is something that can have a big impact on how funny a situation is to different people.

Everyone has their favourite scene – Borat at the rodeo, the infamous naked fight, and the cringeworthy students in the campervan are always popular – and there are plenty of smaller understated moments too, mostly stemming from the over-exagerrated perceptions of Kazakhstan. Borat is much more mature and less obvious than Ali G and subtle and skillfully restrained than Bruno, Borat is Sasha Baron Cohen’s best work so far and arguably a defining comic moment of the Noughties.

It's Got: Lots of laughs and memorable scenes, subtle baiting by SBC of his victims

It Needs: To go a little less off piste towards the end, more distinction between the scripted and unscripted parts

DVD Extras Eight deleted scenes that are worth a watch, 17 minute compilation of outrageous promotional materials, an Kazakh-style infomercial for the soundtrack - quality not quantity DVD Extras Rating: 7/10


One of the defining comedies of the Noughties that somehow makes you think despite being hugely offensive and, on the surface, pretty absurb.