The Unofficial Borat Homepage

The Unofficial Borat Homepage

Review of Borat Movie (contains spoilers)

On Tuesday 13th June I was lucky enough to be invited to the first test screening of the Borat Movie in the UK.

For the last six years I have tried to keep my opinion to myself and simply report on what Borat does. That keeps things nice and easy as I don't have to think and simply throw some transcripts and screenshots down.

However, I've had a go at doing a review of the film. I've tried to stay impartial and give an honest assessment...

Da Webmaster

Yesterday I attended a preview screening of Borat the Movie in London.

I must say that I was not disappointed. Fans from the USA who previously reported on the film said that they had not been in a cinema where an audience had laughed so hard and I think I must agree.

It is a hugely original film that can probably be best described as a cross between "Bowling for Columbine", "This is Spinal Tap" and "National Lampoons American Vacation". But the laughs come so fast you barely have time to stop laughing before the next unbelievable scene comes along.

Before the film started each member of the audience had their mobile phone taken and their bags were checked for recording devices. This was understandable as the film does not come out until November 2006 and the last thing the producers want is for pirate copies to start appearing on the Internet. Then the film was introduced by an American chap who explained that the audience reaction would be filmed and that we'd be requested to spend five minutes at the end filling in a questionnaire. The audience appeared to be a good mix of the population from West London and the theatre sat around 250.
...a cross between "Bowling for Columbine", "This is Spinal Tap" and "National Lampoons American Vacation".

The basic storyline of the film is no secret now and BoratOnline has reported on four or five quite detailed reviews. Borat leaves his home town in Kazakhstan, flies to the U, S and A to make an educational film. However he falls in love with a TV lifeguard from Baywatch called C.J. and travels across America to California to marry her "Kazakhstani style".

The Borat formula is pretty tried and tested and the makers of the film don't try and radically change things. They know what he does well and they just let him get on with it. The best bits of the film are re-worked themes from the popular TV show. The idea behind the "Guide to Etiquette" that was pulled off so successfully on the UK and the US show was played out again and probably got the biggest laughs. But there were so many others such as singing the national anthem at the rodeo, drinking with a group of arrogant young students and having a tour of Borat's village (his mother, his sister, his neighbour, technology from the 1980s, his now famous retard brother/cousin Vilo/Bilo).

The other part of the film that worked brilliantly was the pure "ad lib" sections where Borat was placed in an ordinary situation and causing absolute chaos. The best examples of this were on a live regional TV show where he was interrupting the weather forecast by kissing the presenter, "accidentally" losing his pet chicken on the New York subway and an outrageous scene with his fat producer that has to be seen to be believed (don't want to spoil this one for folks!).

If you are reading this on this site then you must be a fan of Borat - you HAVE to go and see this on the opening weekend. You will not be disappointed.

At the end of the screening the questionnaire was quite interesting and it gave some insight into what they were trying to deduce prior to putting the final cut together.
...showing male nudity in a way that has never been previously done in a main stream 20th Century Fox Film.

Did you find the film overly offensive?
Well I didn't, but some people definitely will. Pushing boundaries making jokes about Jews, gypsies, rape and showing male nudity in quite a way that has never been previously done in a main stream 20th Century Fox film will shock some seeing the film. The question is whether this controversy will work in favour of the film with increased publicity or whether it will turn mainstream America off the film and only achieve cult status?

Did you find the film was too anti-semitic?
If I think that if the film fell short in one way it was probably that the anti semitic satire was not done as well as it was with the last series of the TV show. In the TV show the "Throw the Jew down the well" and the interview of James Broadwater were probably what currently defines Borat. These two amazing pieces of work (by a Jewish comedian) which expose a racist undercurrent from the working class through to the ruling class are probably what are currently Borat's defining moments. However the main "Borat fears Jews/gypsy" scenes were (in my humble opinion) not as strong as similar efforts for the small screen.

How did you find the storyline? How did you find the ending?
This was film about gags, pushing the boundaries of comedy and amazing ad libs, it was never going to be about the storyline. The storyline did however succeed in pulling all of the scenes together and one particularly smooth bit of the storyline is how the writers worked the "sad bit" in. The part of the film 20 minutes before the end where it all seems to be going wrong for our hero. The truly great recent comedy films (Dumb and Dumber, Something about Mary, Meet the Parents) all have weak story lines and endings, but have great gags and make you cry laughing. In the same way Borat the Movie works along these lines.

In summary, this is a super film that will have audiences around the world crying with laughter in November. There was a genuine buzz about the audience as they left the theatre. The big question will be whether an original film such as this can achieve mainstream success in a way that other big more traditional Hollywood comedies have done.

9.5/10 - Had me laughing and sometimes crying from start to finish.

Da Webmaster


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