Even though it’s not my favorite type of humor, Borat is really funny because it’s pitch-perfect. The rubes he makes fun of aren’t the sweet kind you cringe when he abuses (mostly) but some deserving assholes who I hope lose their jobs. Three quick reactions:
1. When the scene with the University of South Carolina frat brothers was over, I leaned over to a friend and said, “…and that’s why I left.” Seriously, if the President of the University has any questions why I never give them a dime, he should just watch that exchange. He was hired to stop the “other” USC from getting to be too prominent and too smart for the ignorant hicks who make up its board of trustees. They’re much more comfortable with the kind of students you see on the screen than me. The evangelical Christian church scene brought also back some bad memories of South Carolina.
2. It was jarring when every time I could understand some of the “Kazakh” coming out of Sacha Cohen’s mouth, it was Polish–a language spoken about a couple of thousand miles from Kazakhstan. I’m guessing Sacha’s family were Polish Jews before the war. None of it was Russian, though I think some of the language in the village scene was.
3. I’ve been to Kazakhstan, and in case you’re wondering, no, it’s not really like Cohen lampoons it to be–while that’s part of his joke, the irony is that he’s reinforcing the type of prejudice he’s exposing in others. On a similar theme, his fake anti-Semitism is not taken up by anybody else in the movie. Southern rednecks hate blacks first, and Jews are way down on the list, now even behind Muslims.