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 Borat
"May George Bush drink the blood of every man, woman and child in Iraq!". These are the inflammatory words of Kazak journalist Borat Sagdiyev as he stands making a jingoistic speech at a Virginia rodeo. He is attired in a cowboy hat, boots and sports a moustache that one buckaroo claims makes him 'look like a suicide bomber'. Borat, as we all know, is the contentious brainchild of British comedian and provocateur Sacha Baron Cohen, famed for his creation of the Ali G character. This frankly precarious mockumentary is the second big screen outing for Cohen after 2002's 'Ali In Da House' and is no less chauvinistic, painful or politically relevant. The movie opens with our bigotted protagonist introducing us to his home village in Kazakstan where he owns cattle, beds his sister and provides commentary for the local 'Running of the Jew' ceremony. Even if you've not witnessed his successful sketch episodes on Channel 4's Ali G Show it won't come as surprise to learn that Borat is sexist, racist and wildly anti-semistic. The basic premise of this celluloid update concerns Borat being dispatched to America by his home government in order to report for the purposes of 'Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan'. However, this merely acts as a plot moving vehicle and thereafter Borat becomes entranced by Baywatch's Pamela Anderson and travels across the entire 'U.S and A' in search of her 'vagine'.

This frankly gob smacking premise only reinforces the small mindedness of Conservative Middle America when a creation so clearly satirical is able to offend such a number of stuffed shirt Yanks which the overwhelming reaction to this film's release has proved. As Cohen himself mentioned " Borat essentially works as a tool. By being anti-semitic, he lets people lower their guard and expose their own prejudice". So let that be a message to leave your sense of outrage at home as Borat infuriates the Veteran Feminists of America and pokes fun at HIV.

This movie is not merely a shattering political lecture disguised as lower than low-brow farce, it is also a pristine example of a daring comedian risking it all for his art. While many scenes reveal clearly staged acts of subversion, less implausible moments such Borat's confrontation of commuters on the New York underground are truly astonishing to behold.

Armed with his pet chicken and equally nauseating producer, Bagatov, our ostensible hero ventures across the states in an ice cream van, experiencing many seditious misadventures along the way. Such teeth-itchingly painful moments include the duo's 'escape' from a homely Jewish couple and the hilarious obliteration of a small-town thrift store. Director Larry Charles, the man behind the surprisingly all-American sitcom, Seinfeld, does an admirable job of crafting an almost genuine and richly intelligent laugh-riot. However, not so successful is his attempt to give Borat a sympathetic, albeit facetious slant as our blinkered icon's American dreams are shattered. Nevertheless, this is a mind-bogglingly subversive comedy on par with the classic incongruous wit of This is Spinal Tap. Anybody with half a brain will laugh themselves silly.

8 out of 10

Buy Borat now at Play.com
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