Directed by Larry Charles

Rated MA

Subtitled Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, this film is a low-budget mockumentary comedy and features just four actual actors the rest are real people whom Borat met during his journey.

The film follows Borat in his travels across the US and A, as he commits cultural solecisms and exposes a few American ones. Borat falls in love with Pamela Anderson after watching a re-run of Baywatch, vows to make her his wife and heads for California in an ice-cream van.

The character Borat appeared irregularly on Da Ali G Show, with sketches featuring him relying on outrageous behaviour and actions, and the reactions of uninformed individuals around him.

Because of his outrageously offensive and bigoted behavior and the stereotypes of a backward second-world country, as he portrays Kazakhstan, Borat has elicited some controversy, mostly related to his frequent displays of anti-Semitism. Sacha Baron Cohen is himself Jewish, and most of the Kazakh dialogue in the film is actually Polish or Hebrew, as he speaks Hebrew fluently and uses this language when keeping up his characters foreignness.

The differences between Borats fictional homeland in Kazakhstan (filmed in Romania) and the actual people and way of life in the country are so far apart that maybe Baron Cohen made it that way to be a satire of American views of the world. But the America that Borat discovers on his cross-country trek here rife with homophobia, xenophobia, racism, classism and anti-Semitism is all too real. Borat makes you laugh but Baron Cohen forces you to think.

To elicit evocative reactions from unsuspecting Americans, Baron Cohen depends on the American public generally not being familiar with Borat or his routine, or with discussion relating to Kazakhstan. He evokes the style of an over-the-top Norman Gunston, and really puts his balls on the line for laughs. A number of the stars in the Borat movie are not particularly happy about their overnight fame, having been told it was a genuine documentary, and are now wanting to sue.

Baron Cohen appeared in character as Borat at the White House gates to give a press conference and invite Supreme Warlord Premier George Walter Bush to a screening of his forthcoming film. I wish I would have been there at the briefing that Bush got about who I am, who Borat is. It would have had to be great, he told Rolling Stone.

I felt a bit disappointed with Borat, and I wasnt all that surprised when I noticed the names Matt Stone and Trey Parker (South Park) in the credits; their influence is apparent. I wasnt laughing as hard or as often as I felt I should, but wincing a lot instead. I much more enjoyed Baron Cohens portrayal of his Ali G persona, where he stuck to his home turf and culture, and I loved In Da House. Although Borat is getting rave reviews from the yanks, I really hope he finds another character soon.

However, Borats cultural learning is revealing, even if it doesnt adequately convey how it benefits glorious nation of Kazakhstan. The most important thing to know about Borat is that you will be appalled by what you see, and then you will be appalled by the way it makes you laugh. Especially the painful male bonding scene.

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