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Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Borat:Cultural learnings of America for make benefit of glorious nation of Kazakhstan

In case you’ve been buried alive for the last month, Kazakhstan journalist Borat is the creation of UK comedian Sasha Baron Cohen. He’s a guileless anti-Semite who asks shocking questions under cover of coming from a land where they don't know any better. Until now he’s been confined to short sketches in Cohen's various Ali G TV series; given eighty minutes to stretch out in, he’s created the funniest film of the year.

The plot sends Borat from his cartoony homeland to New York to make a documentary. There he falls in love with Pamela Anderson and travels cross-country to California to make her his wife. It’s a thin justification for a series of stunning skits in which Borat mocks both cultural stereotypes and clueless Americans. But as the film goes on it becomes increasingly difficult to tell the staged moments from the real ones, giving the film a giddy feel unlike other reality prank films.

Clearly some moments are too bizarre to be ‘real’ - but where do you draw the line? Time and again you’re left wondering if you really saw what you thought you did. Which makes for a great excuse to see this hysterical film again.

Anthony Morris