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227 of 273 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Extremely Un-PC Political Comedy--"Borat" Turns Itself Into The Year's Most Controversial Film
I guess I am shocked at how divisive this film seems to be--it's apparently another in the camp of "love it" or "hate it." I was familiar with Sasha Baron Cohen and the Borat character from HBO's "Da Ali G Show". While I was amused by this reprehensible, yet surprisingly innocent "Kazahstanian," I was skeptical about a full fledged big screen treatment. Turning a...
Published on November 13, 2006 by K. Harris

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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Socratic Irony
The public reaction to Borat speaks volumes about the very small amount of the US population that either doesn't have HBO or simply has never tuned into HBO's Da Ali G Show. Sacha Baron Cohen certainly didn't break new ground with the Borat character in the full-length feature film Borat. Indeed, the Borat character was a regular part of the Ali G show first popularized...
Published on March 13, 2007 by Sky


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227 of 273 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Extremely Un-PC Political Comedy--"Borat" Turns Itself Into The Year's Most Controversial Film, November 13, 2006
I guess I am shocked at how divisive this film seems to be--it's apparently another in the camp of "love it" or "hate it." I was familiar with Sasha Baron Cohen and the Borat character from HBO's "Da Ali G Show". While I was amused by this reprehensible, yet surprisingly innocent "Kazahstanian," I was skeptical about a full fledged big screen treatment. Turning a comedy skit into a feature movie is a "iffy" proposition, at best. Take a look at almost every Saturday Night Live adaptation for corroboration. I'd have to say, then, that I was pleasantly surprised--Borat is a winner.

Part scripted, partly hidden camera improv, partly "Jackass" tomfoolery--you're never quite sure what is to be believed in "Borat". Some may feel that this limits the film's effectiveness as commentary, but I feel this enhances it's comedic appeal. For there is such unbridled outrageousness to be had in "Borat," it's hard not to be caught up in the spirit. I probably laughed more consistently within the framework of this spare 83 minute film than I have all year. Some of it is dumb humor, to be sure--some of it was shock value or disbelief.

But a large part of the humor comes from real life. By playing the moronic, offensive imbecile--Cohen, and thus Borat, expose a cavalier prejudice, hypocrisy, and/or intolerance that exists within American culture. Whether it's buying a gun to kill Jews, viewing women as sex objects to be violated, or supporting the genocide of our enemies--Borat always finds willing subjects to engage, people who in one way or another identify with these barbaric ideas.

It's tempting to dismiss Borat as offensive nonsense, I know many have already stated that opinion. It might also be tempting for others to embrace "Borat" as one of the more unapologetic and politically relevant films in quite some time. But I don't think it is attempting anything quite so significant--and that, in truth, may be it's greatest success. It walks the line unlike any other film in recent memory. It has elicited much love from fans and major critics and much hatred from it's detractors. This power to provoke such passion, such debate--be it feelings, emotions, thoughts, ideas--that is the film's crowning achievement. This crazy little film is not only one of the year's funniest films, it has also become one of the year's most talked about. Who can argue with that? KGHarris, 11/06.
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37 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DVD packaging.... INGENIOUS, March 6, 2007
By 
Danna L. Gutman (Rockville, MD USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (DVD)
Ok, I haven't even played this DVD yet. I saw the film twice in the theaters, and I think enough has been said about it on here...

***May contain spoilers***

But let me say that when I got my Borat DVD in the mail today (how I love Amazon deliveries the day DVDs are available - and with super saver shipping no less) I was a little confused. I opened the package, and found a DVD covered by your usual sleeve promoting its highlights like any other you might buy in the US. Then, I eagerly slipped the plastic-covered DVD out of the sleeve, turned it over to read the back, started reading and wait... what? or rather, CHTO? because the entire DVD cover is in Russian.

Now, I read Russian. And I have purchased pirated DVDs for $2 at Moscow metro stations because that is pretty much what you do when you're in Russia. So the fact that I examined this DVD case for a good 5 minutes, opened it to find what looks like a DVD-R disc with "Borat" labeled in permanent marker and seriously considered the possibility that somehow a pirated DVD had been sent by Amazon... finally, of course, I realized that the whole thing was a joke. Possibly even funnier to me than any single joke in the film. The giveaway was the single slip of paper inside promoting more films you can buy from the US and A that are legal in kazakhstan...

Anyway. Now all I have to do is go to Russia and purchase an ACTUAL pirated version to compare!

The DVD should be purchased for the uncanny packaging alone, but I guess I have ruined the surprise...
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surplus material makes for most glorious DVD, March 5, 2007
This review is from: Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (DVD)
The "Borat" party continues on DVD, with cool-stupid menus and lots of howlers in the "Surplus Material" section (that's extra features to most of us). A 20-minute video about the Borat character's U.S. promo tour -- "Global Vistings and Television Shows for Purposes of Propaganda of Documentary" -- takes us to Cannes, with the infamous florescent thong incident that freaked out photo editors worldwide. From the Riviera, it's on to the talk-show circuit with appearances on Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno. Borat to Conan: "Your pubis, is it red? May I harvest it?" On Leno, Borat is ready for love as he mistakes Martha Stewart's bed-making demonstration for an invitation to sex. Stewart plays along, sort of.

There's also a mock late-night TV music ad, with Borat singing to kids about their miseries and then covering "Born to Be Wild" from the stupid van. In the "Censored Footages" section of 8 clips, check out Borat's visit to an incredulous doctor -- "That means you had sex with your sister? ... No high 5" -- and a "Baywatch" spoof, "Sexy Drown Watch," with plenty of flab on display -- and another thong.

It all adds up to a bonus half-hour with Borat, most of it as good as anything in the movie.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "We go to California..they have Texas there, and Pearl Harbor", March 6, 2007
This review is from: Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (DVD)
Finally got to see one of the most talked about movies of the year. The widescreen edition is great and the special features are okay. Sacha Baron Cohen plays Borat, a native of Kazakstan and also a reporter from that country who comes to America in the hopes of learning something constructive to take back and apply to his own culture. What the film really does is show a hilarious, if often times disturbing and yet comical view of American culture through Borat's eyes. From his purchase of an "auto car" to falling in love with Pamela Anderson after watching an episode of Baywatch, it was fun to follow him through his journey from New York to California. Cohen is great because he makes the character he plays very believable. Whether it was the Rodeo, the Bear they bought for protection or the etiquette lessons, the film was highly entertaining. This kind of humor is not for everyone but I know people who would have found some of it to be a turn off still ended up laughing a lot. Borat holds nothing back and in the meantime explores everything from run down neighborhoods to evangelical church meetings. At times I laughed so hard my sides were about to burst!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't worry, it's not a bootleg...high five, March 10, 2007
My husband wants to buy the dvd after we just watched it twice this weekend from netflix, but when he took it out of the sleeve, to his shock the disk looks like a bootleg dvd with the name "BORAT" written in a sharpie--this was the intention of the distributers for added shock value/humor. It is a legitimate dvd.

The film is quite funny and sometimes embarrassing to watch...sometimes utterly excrutiating, but I was screaming with laughter througout the whole film. Sacha Baron Cohen is so great as Borat, and never loses his energy when faced with sometimes dangerous Americans and the ballsy extremes he goes for a laugh. Most of the people he encounterd were good sports, and the ones who weren't--you just can't help but feel a little perturbed by. I can go through life not seeing this movie again, but my husband really loved it...we're probably going to end up buying it.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Socratic Irony, March 13, 2007
This review is from: Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (DVD)
The public reaction to Borat speaks volumes about the very small amount of the US population that either doesn't have HBO or simply has never tuned into HBO's Da Ali G Show. Sacha Baron Cohen certainly didn't break new ground with the Borat character in the full-length feature film Borat. Indeed, the Borat character was a regular part of the Ali G show first popularized in the UK in 2000 and introduced to US viewers via HBO in 2004.

So technically, all the hub-bub on the one side of the fence about Borat being a "racist" character or a misrepresentation of the Kazakhstan people is about 7 years late. And the suggestion on the other side of the fence that Borat is the funniest movie or character to come along in years is way overrated.

The Borat character is funny. But what is funnier is watching the reaction to the character by the people that he is duping. Similarly, Cohen's Ali G character (a stereotypical hip-hop, British ghetto banger TV host) and the Bruno character (a stereotypical gay mannerismed TV host) have the same modus operandi....

....And that modus operandi is Socratic irony. The characters deliberately feign ignorance in order to expose weakness in another's position. The result: most of the time hilarity. Whether it's Borat, Ali G or Bruno, the laughs are less to each character's behavior and more to the reaction of the person being duped and the commitment that people have to being politically correct so as not to question the ridiculous opinions and questions that Cohen's characters come up with. Cohen's characters' naive stupidity make his victims look equally stupid...Socratic irony. (The only victim that I ever saw that had enough intelligence to walk out of the situation without any regard to whether or not he was offending the Cohen character was Donald Trump.)

Comparitively, if what we're really after here are public reactions to pranks and gags, you can get it all for free on YouTube. Cohen just has a better knack for executing his gags on VIPs. Therefore, to make a full length movie that developed the Borat character was a bit overkill for me. A movie that was similar to Da Ali G Show that mixed up the characters a bit would have kept the gags a bit more fresh.

So do you want to see some funny pranks and gags that get a bit tired by the end of full length feature film about just the Borat character? Then the Borat movie is for you. Would you rather see it mixed up a bit between different characters? Then go with Da Ali G Show seasonal DVD releases. You want pranks and gags for free? Go to YouTube.

But don't be fooled into being offended by any of the Cohen characters. They are not real; the man behind the mask really isn't that stupid. He's trying to make YOU look stupid. And if you take Cohen's characters seriously, you will indeed look stupid. You see? Socratic irony.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just one laugh after the next, February 22, 2007
This review is from: Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (DVD)
This has to have been the funniest movie I've ever seen, since it shows how a Wacky Foreigner From A Backwards Nation can bring out the absolute worst from the unsuspecting denizens of Middle America. The scenes in fictionalized Kazakhstan were uproarious, especially how blithely Borat describes one of his neighbors as the "town rapist" and how proud he is that his sister--whom he makes out with--is the #4 prostitute in the nation. I can't fully reveal what transpires in the scene that had me laughing so hard I thought I was going to suffer an athsma attack, but I can say that it involves a Baywatch: Season 1 magazine and a mortgage broker convention; you'll just have to see it for yourself.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review solely for new Amazon/TiVo service, March 7, 2007
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Of course, I give Borat 5 stars...there is no question about that.....it's just hilarious, but you do have to have an open mind about it's humor...It can be offensive to some, but hysterical to others.

But I'm here to review the new service by Amazon and TiVo. I signed up and got my $15 promotion towards any movie, and I decided I would purchase Borat. Checkout was a breeze, and within 10 minutes of my purchase time, my internet-connected TiVo began downloading the movie and was finished in about an hour.

I also went to my Media Library and sent Borat to one of my bedroom TiVo's also! It's a wonderful and convienient new service! I can't wait until Amazon's movie catalogue becomes substantially larger!

If you are an Amazon customer with a broadband connected TiVo, you are in business!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Loved it in the Theater, November 9, 2007
By 
MamaHippo (Los Angeles, California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (DVD)
I really loved this movie in the movie theater. The movie was simply shocking on the big screen. The audience was howling and the movie seemed to move so fast to not give you time to think. The problem with owning this movie is that you are forced to view the movie in your home and actually think about it. I found myself, *gasp*, having sympathy for the people Borat encounters. The movie does not hold up on repeated viewings.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wild, unpredictable, and genuinely hilarious: the funniest film of 2006, March 22, 2007
By 
SteakSalad101 (Madison, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (DVD)
Well, here's the moment of truth: my review of BORAT, one of 2006's most controversial films. Sacha Baron Cohen, originating on HBO's "Da Ali G Show" stars as the delightful Kazakhstani journalist who has been sent to America to make a documentary on cultural differences. Borat starts out with a bang, from the very first line which is "Jag sez mais! A-my name a-Borat!" In Borat, the ACTUAL country of Kazakhstan is made out to be a dump full of prostitutes, animal rapists, town abortionists, and a country that has yet to discover DVDs and Music CDs, and are instead stuck with the "VCR recorders" and "play cassettes." The first five minutes of the movie is filmed in a studio. Then, for the remaining 75 minutes, Borat travels to America in an absolutely uncut, uncensored, unscripted, and completely unexpected and daring film stunt. Throughout the movie, Borat talks to American citizens: normal guys off the street of New York, rich home owners, slums, even a pair of old Jewish people owning a bed and breakfast. And, then, Sacha Baron Cohen does what he does best: makes people look stupid. Eventually, Borat falls in love with Pamela Anderson and sets off on a cross-country journey to California to make her his wife. The movie is disgusting, revolting, shocking, vulgar, crude, full of sexual jokes, intentional racial prejudice, and is just about insulting to every person in the audience. However, it is without a doubt, the funniest movie I have seen in 2006!! While watching the film you really have to put all the crude scenes and jokes beside you and just appreciate the sheer genius of Sacha Baron Cohen and see that actually, behind all the crude childish stuff, this movie is SMART and ultimately RIGHT! I laughed so hard my throat hurt and head ached after leaving the theater, plus I had a Cherry Coke stain on my pants that appeared sometime during the movie, as the drink had come out of my nose. I can see why some people don't like it, including the Kazakh government, but you need to relax and just take it for what it is: a movie. A movie filmed with no script, no rules, no boundaries, and a bunch of unexpecting and unlucky Americans. And you know what the best part is? After leaving the theater, the first thought to run through your head will be "Wow. America truly does suck." See it for yourself. You may or not be disappointed, but I loved it, and I hope you will too!
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