We A-like ‘Borat’

David Wolinsky

Borat has garnered more attention for its controversial depiction of Kazakhstan than its quality as a film. Naturally, as with most hot topic movies, it’s become a cultural phenomenon. So after one looks past the controversy and the thousands of insufferable Borat imitators, how is Borat as a movie? It is wonderful and has the potential to stand as a comedy classic.

The plot is basically irrelevant, but here goes: Borat is a reporter from Kazakhstan who goes to film a report in America and ends up on a quest to deflower Pamela Anderson. Leftists or staunch conservatives, wealthy or poor, no one is safe from Borat and his television crew.

Much flak has been aimed at the Academy Awards for shunning comedies from nominations. Why don’t they make up for their past ignorance by handing Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat) a nomination? Cohen’s Borat is more than hilarious; he is endearing. There’s rarely a moment when Borat isn’t completely genial and friendly. When he is crushed after discovering that Pamela Anderson is not a virgin, the laughter is tinged with a tiny amount of sympathy. For making this anti-Semitic, homophobic moron a fully-realized character that we grow to care about, Cohen deserves all the acclaim he gets.

If anyone steals the show from Cohen, it’s the characters playing…well, themselves, actually. The Americans caught by the joke are unflatteringly humorous. The citizens caught on camera do a better job of exposing American arrogance and hypocrisy than any other movie that comes to mind.

Really, the only flaw could be that some bits are obviously staged – especially Borat’s final encounter with Pamela Anderson. Other than that, the only other reason to fault this gem is the fact that it ends.

– David Wolinsky