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Movie Review - Borat (2006 - United States)

Updated on March 3, 2012

There is an ancient showbiz tradition of creating very broadly drawn caricatures of any group that is Other (meaning: Not Us) and making fun of them. At its most benign, we find Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau (although I'm not sure if the French agreed that’s benign!), and at its most cruel it becomes Blackface.

Perfected in British and American Vaudeville, vintage examples of this form of farce have a unique ability to make modern audiences cringe. (See Mickey Rooney's squirm-worthy turn as a Chinese figure-of-fun, which nearly destroys Breakfast at Tiffany’s , or portions of Cabin in the Sky , another otherwise excellent picture haunted by racial stereotyping).

Watch the trailer:

In Borat, however, Sasha Baron Cohen made fun of making fun of over-the-top cultural stereotypes. He asks us to ponder and define "why is this funny?" and then apply that fresh awareness to all the other, much less benign examples of this type of humor. It's an astonishing achievement -- oh, and by the way, this movie is very, very funny! (As an aside, Cohen also does a wonderful turn as the classic French/gay caricature in Talladega Nights , again giving it his own very fresh and likable twist.)

Highly recommended, no disclaimers. Humor is of course highly personal, and tremendously subjective. You may not find this film funny, in other words. You will only know if you will or not be watching the movie, so do it.

Copyright © Roberta Lee 2012. All rights reserved.

(I am an artist and the author of the Suburban Sprawl series of novels as well as two nonfiction books. Find out more about my work at

Genre: Comedy

Rated: R g

Running Time: 1 hr. 22 min.

In Theaters: Aug 4, 2006

On DVD: Mar 6, 2007

Box Office:$128.4M

Distributor:20th Century Fox

Directed By: Larry Charles


Sacha Baron Cohen - Borat Sagdiyev

Ken Davitian - Azamat Bagatov

Jane Sanguinetti Luenell - Luenell

Pat Haggerty - Pat Haggerty

Alan Keyes - Alan Keyes

Pamela Anderson - Pamela Anderson

More that I recommend from Sasha Baron Cohen and that you can watch right now:

Humor is subjective & very personal

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    • DIYmyOmy profile image

      DIYmyOmy 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      How do YOU feel about Sasha Baron Cohen's style of humor?