Borat
R
Entertainment: +1
Acceptability: -4

Sacha Baron Cohen. Directed by Larry Charles.

FILM SYNOPSIS: In Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen - star of HBOs hit comedy Da Ali G Show, takes his outrageous Kazakstani reporter character Borat to the big screen. Borat travels from his primitive home in Kazakhstan to the U.S. to make a documentary. On his cross-country road trip, Borat meets real people in real situations with comical consequences.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Earlier this year, comic actor Sacha Baron Cohen scored as the highlight of Will Ferrells Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and here he also reveals a penchant for absurdist humor. Timing, an ability to portray naivet while mocking people, and his possession of other comic tricks that come naturally to the best funnymen, are all present in this talented man. Sadly, much of the humor he employs here is reamed from crudity. His character, from a small backward former Russian state, is so oblivious to modern facilities, such as the use of a commode, and social behavior, (sexual customs in his country evidently allowing public masturbation), that he manages to insult every American with whom he comes in contact. The visuals come so quickly and are of such an antisocial behavior, such as chasing an obese man through a hotel, both completely naked, that the minds first reaction is to laugh at the unaccustomed conduct in public.

But the tacky humor doesnt stop with the characters rude deportment. Mr. Cohen also treats other taboo subjects with an absurdist view. At one point, his down-on-his-luck character wanders into a Pentecostal church meeting. I dont know how he managed to do this, but it seems to be a real worship service. While its practitioners are expressing their praise and worship by dancing in the aisles and speaking in tongues, Mr. Cohen takes full advantage of charismatic approach to worship and praise to poke fun at Christian beliefs. No matter your view of this religious practice, the Charismatic movement has become comic fodder for Hollywood. I felt extremely uncomfortable during these scenes. While his character is honestly trying to understand and seek the help of Mr. Jesus, the presentation is unfortunate as it comes very near blasphemy while also ridiculing that particular denomination.

Mr. Cohen uses the Jewish faith as a comic prop as well, but each gag referring to the Jewish nation is meant to poke fun at those who have unfounded, preconceived notions of Jewish men and women. But he thrusts visuals of a Pentecostal worship service on an audience largely unfamiliar with this demonstrative conduct, which is misleading. There are customs and procedures in any religion that can be mocked without the understanding of their inception. A visual of someone seemingly out of control in a worship service is another tool used by filmmakers to ridicule Christianity.

Borat will no doubt get secular kudos for its originality and wit, but most people attempting to further their faith walk will find the material disconcerting, disrespectful and downright gross.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Summary
Crude Language: Pervasive strong, crude and sexual content, including graphic nudity and dialogue.
Obscene Language: 30 obscenities.
Profanity: One profane use of Gods name
Violence: A comic fight between two nude men; the comic visual makes it seem as if they are involved in a sex act.
Sexual Intercourse: The lead passionately kisses a woman, then tells us innocently that she is his sister. Two scenes with masturbation. Many graphic and crude sexual discussions. The lead meets and gets involved with a prostitute.
Nudity: Complete male nudity on several occasions.
Homosexual Conduct: There is some gay humor. The lead innocently gets involved with the gay community.
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Throughout.
Drug Abuse: Some drinking.
Other: There are many visuals and conversations filled with mocking humor addressing every subject from conservatives to people of faith.
Running Time: 82 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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