“Borat” Reviewed: High Five!

Gloriously politically incorrect, Sacha Baron Cohen’s first headlining performance is “Niiiiiiice.” A clueless Kazak reporter, Borat is sent by his government to New York City (where he wields a jar of gypsy tears that he claims will protect him from AIDS) to film a documentary, but gets sidetracked when he sees Pamela Anderson on a “Baywatch” rerun. From there, it’s clear what he has to do: travel to California and marry her. On the way to California (where, apparently, Pearl Harbor and Texas are located), Borat and his chubby cohort Azamat (Ken Davitian) travel through the Bible Belt and Middle America, interviewing their unassuming victims of satire. In Tennessee, Borat ignores warnings that he looks too much like a terrorist and sings his version of the “Star Spangled Banner” at a rodeo, informing the crowd that he and Kazakhstan support America’s “war of terror.” Later, Borat shares his hope with the crowd that George Bush will drink the blood of every Iraqi. It’s not for the easily offended, but “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” will make you cackle uncontrollably if you have even the smallest funny bone. Borat’s loveable ignorance made the packed theater hoot, howl and even cry. But more often then not, the laughter was directed at the ignorance of Borat’s interviewees. Despite “Cultural Learnings'” seemingly prejudice surface, Cohen, an Oxford University graduate, is actually commenting on the prejudice of others. Some of the things Borat’s subjects say in response to his faux bigotry are often disturbing and even appalling, eliciting squirms and gasps from the audience. At one point, Borat interviews a man who tells him a 9mm is the best gun for killing Jews, and an encounter with a band of South Carolinian frat brothers is downright disturbing. But, if you don’t get the point, you are probably as narrow-minded as the bigots Borat exposes. “Cultural Learnings” is a brave and riotous comedy that may offend your grandparents, but it’s a small price to pay for the catch phrases in broken English that will rage through college campuses for the next year.