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The War Against Comedy

Feces, Semen, Urine, and the Tears of a Gypsy Leave a Great Stain on the Nation's Silver Screens

I LOVE AMERICA: Sacha Baron Cohen (center) gives people enough rope to hang themselves, gets paid.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Director:Larry Charles
Cast:Sacha Baron Cohen
Release Date:2006

Opens Nov. 3

By Joe MacLeod | Posted 11/1/2006

This Borat is a vile movie. If you go to a theater and pay money to sit in front of this motion picture--if your mom's still alive, think real hard before you take her--and you make it though the whole 82 minutes of this thing, you will feel the need for perhaps a shower, at the very least maybe a little hand-washing, something to ritually cleanse your body and soul from what has just been inflicted upon you.

You know how sometimes movie theaters kinda smell like feet when you first walk in, and sometimes they smell even worse? C'mon, you've been to the movies before, you know that smell; feet, underarm perspiration, chicken strips, baby sick, a hint of ass? A small, wet slice of the whole human experience, if you will, plus a dousing of that carcinogenic oil they now make you put on the fucking popcorn yourself. Yeah, now double that stink, fold it up, and stick it down in your underpants--front or back, your choice--for a few hours to let it warm up, and that's how the inside of your brain will smell after you are excreted from the theater containing Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, the commingling of the talents of director Larry Charles (writer/director, respectively, for HBO's Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm) and the writer/shockumentary teevee-news attack-character interviewer star of U.K. Channel 4 via HBO's Da Ali G Show, Sacha Baron Cohen.

But it's not just a smell. Your head will echo with the obtuse broken-Englishisms of Mr. Baron Cohen's celebrated "Borat Sagdiyev" character, a television interviewer from the Eurasian Republic of Kazakhstan, which American comedy connoisseurs have quickly recognized as the gold-standard equivalent of West Virginia here in the good ol' U.S. of A. in terms of a vessel in which to pour all kinds of gags invoking classic themes of squalor, illiteracy, developmental disability, and a broad spectrum of sexual depravity inclusive of incest, i.e., the go-to daub of brownish paint on the palette of any serious vaudevillian. Yeah, baby, a little song, a little dance, a little incest in yer pants, SBC is in da house with the comedy jokes, inhabiting the person of his wild and crazy Kazakh horndog teevee-star creation, push-push-pushing his bush outside the box of what is now industry standard sneak-attack faux-interviewing into a fully realized Major Motion Picture of a story placing our man Borat and his swarthy, suety, bear of a producer Azamat Bagatov (Ken Davitian) with their cheap former Soviet Republic shoes planted firmly on the ground of the continental United States of America, for the plot-summary purpose of finding out just what is so great about the country that gave the world the iPod, but quickly going off-topic, veering into a Road Movie, wherein Borat finds a bitchin' set of wheels, love, and meets and interviews Actual Members of the diverse and various melted pot of E Pluribus Unum, culling shocking and unsurprising sound bites from a cowboy at a rodeo, college pukes in a camper, proselytizing preachers at a revival meeting, and some uptight society bitches, punished for simply trying to teach a randy foreigner how to behave at a polite-society dinner party, and how to use a flush toilet.

As you firmly grip the saddle horn of this MPAA-rated-R-for-pervasive-strong-crude-and-sexual-content-including-graphic-nudity-and-language escaped jackass of a movie, with the intention of hanging on until time is called, you may at some point find you have stopped trying to figure out which parts are "real" prank-humor and where the wires of cinematic artifice are being yanked, because it doesn't matter, the joke's on you, on us--as in U.S.--and on Everybody Else. So it's all real, and while Borat induces great gasps as he baldly goes where no simulacrum of a Soviet Bloc anti-Semite has gone before, the resulting realization of how the War Against Freedom has affected America doesn't so much help us understand Why They Hate Us as much as show Why We Hate Them. With dick jokes.

E-mail Joe MacLeod

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