Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)
What I wanted to write first was that somehow I’ve never gotten around to watching the first Borat movie, so I decided to catch up before watching the new one. However, as I just found out right after finishing the film, it seems I actually did watch it already. According to my trakt.tv data, I watched it in March of 2013, and gave it a 3/10 rating.
Some of the things I saw today I definitely don’t remember watching before, so I guess this must have been one of the very rare times when I didn’t even finish it? And to be honest, I can see why – my rating will go up, but not by much. I have nothing but respect for the insane things Sacha Baron Cohen pulls off with hidden cameras, but as I had expected, this movie is more than that – and not in a good way.
I mostly enjoyed Who is America?, which is much more focussed on just the skits. In his feature films however, SBC seems to think he needs an elaborate story around the skits, and I just don’t understand why. Who does that serve? What is the point in me watching him and a bunch of other actors keep up the pretense that only exists so that cringe scenes with outsiders can happen? I’m only interested in those cringe parts. Maybe they need it to have an easier time staying in character, but even then it should be cut out of the movie.
Probably the most interesting aspect of watching it was the cultural snapshot that a movie of this nature provides. It’s from 2006 and very early on there’s an old person explaining really well why you should not make fun of disabled people. That was 14 years ago, and today we still have bigots around, and often excuse it with age and growing up in a different time.
The final scene in the US and A left me genuinely speechless and I’m now actually curious if he pulls similar things in the new movie, because my first reaction was “How did he not get shot?!”. Check the scene out if you don’t plan to watch the whole movie, and read up on it afterwards – quite some fun trivia I wasn’t aware of until today.1
Alright, spoiler! As far as I’ve read, Pamela Anderson knew about it beforehand, but no one else did. Not even her then-husband, Kid Rock, who apparently was so mad about not knowing it that this become one of the reasons for their divorce. ↩︎