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Film / Borat

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"Jagshemash! My name Borat! I like you. I like sex. Is nice!"
— first lines of the movie, also the least offensive thing you'll hear him say

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan centers around Borat Sagdiyev, a humble reporter from Kazakhstan (Sacha Baron Cohen, in one of his guerrilla commentary-style characters) and a misogynistic, racist, anti-Semitic stranger to American culture, who travels around the United States with his manager Azamat (Ken Davitian) to learn about its culture.

His odyssey includes stops in such diverse places as New York City, Washington, D.C., a live Morning Show, a Virginia rodeo (where Borat attempts to sing the national anthem with his own lyrics), a confederate antique shop, a Jewish couple's bed and breakfast, a born-again Christian revival tent service, and Hollywood. All this so that Borat can travel cross country to wed Pamela Anderson, though he eventually finds something more in Lunell, a New Orleans prostitute.


It is worth noting that a) the director and both producers - including Baron Cohen - are Jewish, and b) most of the other people featured in the film were completely unaware of their ultimate role in the resulting movie. (In fact, the movie contains only 4 actors: Baron Cohen, Ken Davitian, Luenell and Pamela Anderson herself). Controversy followed the film for many of the above-mentioned reasons, including lawsuits brought by many of the subjects of Borat's attention. It has been banned in all Arab countries save Lebanon, and Russia has discouraged cinemas there from showing it.

The government of Kazakhstan was none-too-pleased with it either, due to all the "No, we're not really racist homophobic Ruritanians" phone calls their foreign relations department had to deal with. Despite this, the film has a cult-following in the republic, helped by the First Daughter Dariga Nazarbayeva of Kazakhstan, who told their government to lighten up and enjoy the joke, and other government officials who appreciated its treatment of a rare subject: reportedly, it's done wonders for their tourism sectornote .


Despite the large amount of lawsuits and controversies, Borat, originally expected to flop, was a huge critical, financial, and cultural success, and has spawned a 2009 Spiritual Successor Brüno, starring another of Sacha Baron Cohen's characters.

Other moving film pages have inferior tropes!

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Played for Laughs when, in the middle of their brawl, Borat and Azamat run naked and screaming in gibberish into a crowded elevator. They immediately stop screaming and face quietly ahead as the elevator goes up, and then immediately start screaming and fighting again the moment the doors open.
  • Accentuate the Negative: This is actually what most critics did with the movie rather than what the film did to its victims. While Borat gets a lot of people to reveal their hidden bigotry, at least an equal amount of the people featured are amazingly accomodating and polite to someone who is apparently a clueless backwater weirdo.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Borat started as a cultural commentary character in a series of sketches on Da Ali G Show.
  • Alter-Ego Acting
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Some people did not even know Kazakhstan was a real country.
  • Ambiguous Innocence: Borat is an embodiment of this trope. He is a very innocent character, however that results in him doing not-so innocent things.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: When a hotel concierge solemnly informs Borat of the death of Borat's wife back home, Borat joyfully hugs the baffled messenger and dances around the room.
  • Angry White Man: The frat-boys Borat travels with. They have a low opinion of women and minorities and in real life tried to sue the producers for defamation, even though they weren't forced or tricked into saying anything.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Borat's and Azamat's "Kazakhstani" speech is mostly Hebrew and Armenian, respectively. The words in the credits are Polish. The "Kazakh village" is a gypsy village in Romania.
  • The Backwards Я:
    • The Cyrillic character Д used in the movie's title is really pronounced similar to "d", not an "a". In fact, reading the title of the film poster in Cyrillic would be "Voyadt", with the R being the wrong way round.
    • The DVD release also had a literal backwards R. (The goal was to make the DVD look like a cheap bootleg.)
  • Badass Mustache: Borat's caterpillar! It's real, too. He says it takes him 6 weeks to grow it each time.
  • Bad Humor Truck: Borat and Azamat's choice of cross-country conveyance, complete with trained guard animal a black bear named Oksana.
  • Bag of Kidnapping: What a "traditional marriage sack" actually is. It doesn't work quite the way he planned.
  • Barely-There Swimwear: We see an example at the end, worn by Borat. In one of the deleted scenes, Azamat wears one in a Baywatch parody.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Borat and Azamat secure a black bear as a guard animal to protect their truck. This works out as well as could be expected.
  • Berserk Button: Borat catches Azamat masturbating over Borat's Pamela Anderson magazine, and all hell breaks loose for about five abominable - and very uncomfortably naked - minutes.
  • Bertha in the Attic: Borat apparently has a mentally disabled brother named Bilo who they keep locked up in the cage. Their sister made the mistake of taunting him through the bars.
  • Big Damn Movie: Notably averted, particularly compared to Da Ali G Show's previous movie spinoff, Ali G Indahouse. Though it definitely has a much more focused plot than most of Borat's segments on the show, and it spends more time letting Borat express himself through his monologues, the movie more-or-less plays out like an extended episode of the TV show. Interestingly, it turned out to be much more successful than Indahouse, which was a clear-cut example of a Big Damn Movie.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Borat is flabbergasted to learn that in the United States, women have the right to say no to sexual advances.
    • Also, Borat recalling he was nearly violated with a sex toy at a Gay Pride parade.
  • Bland-Name Product: The DVD's top part is printed to look like it was burned onto a Demorex brand recordable disc. It even has a parody of the Memorex slogan — "Is life? No. Demorex."
  • Blatant Lies: "Yes, I'm standing right in the middle of Times Square" - Azamat to the Kazakh minister, from a phone booth in the middle of nowhere.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Played for Laughs. Borat has a very unusual and backwards sense of right and wrong. Despite disliking homosexuals, he himself isn't above doing "gay" things with other men (though he doesn't understand they're gay-related), considers incest to be A-okay, all just to name a few.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Played with - Borat is an extreme anti-Semite, even though Sacha Baron Cohen is Jewish in real life.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
    • Borat's description of Pamela Anderson upon seeing her on TV.
      Borat: This C.J. was like no Kazakh woman I have ever seen. She had golden hairs, teeth as white as pearls, and the asshole of a seven-year-old.
    • Borat describes Kazakhstan as having problems such as "Economic, social, and Jew."
  • Brick Joke: Borat's joke trainer tries to teach him the proper use of the word "NOT!" in a joke and he doesn't seem to get it. Near the end of the movie this returns in a particularly inappropriate, but hilarious, time.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Borat's reception on the streets of New York is less than friendly, with people shouting obscenities in his face just for introducing himself. When he tries to shake hands with and kiss a subway passenger: "Touch me and I will punch you in your fucking balls!"
  • Brother–Sister Incest:
    • Both Borat and his late wife were conceived by his hometown's local rapist.
    • Borat casually makes out with Kazakhstan's fourth best prostitute, before introducing her as his sister.
    • Borat's sister apparently made the mistake of sexually taunting their mentally disabled brother Bilo through the bars of his cage, and paid the price.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Borat studies American humor. It takes him the entire movie to get the timing right on "Not!" jokes.
  • The Casanova: Borat fancies himself as this. To the audience (as well as his unsuspecting interviewees), he would probably come off as a perverted rapist.
    (From a deleted scene)
    Borat: I have had gonorrhea many times. Ladies very much like Borat. High five!
  • Categorism as a Phobia: Borat went into an over-the-top panic attack when the B&B he was staying at turned out to be operated by a Jewish couple.
  • Combat Breakdown
  • Contrived Coincidence: Borat is infatuated with Pamela Anderson and wants to marry her, but he doesn't want to be unfaithful to his wife back in Kazakhstan, because she'll snap his cock off. In the very next scene, he gets a letter from back home: His wife is dead, freeing him to pursue Pam. High five!
  • Corpsing: The weather reporter, after Borat interrupts his segment.
  • Crazy Cultural Comparison: Lots and lots.
  • Credits Gag: Costume designer Jason Alper is also credited as providing "Mr Baron Cohen's feces".
  • Cringe Comedy
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Borat catches Azamat masturbating over Borat's Pamela Anderson magazine. Hilarity Ensues.
    • Earlier in the film, Borat does this in public over some female mannequins in a store.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Played for laughs. In one scene when Borat becomes desires to seek out a woman for sex, he is flabbergasted to learn that in the US, women have the right to say no to sexual advances.
    • The whole movie could be seen as one giant parody to this trope.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Parodied in which Borat has Azamat walk out of him, he falls into despair over thinking he'll never be a man (despite the reassurances of an RV-full of chauvinists). His tears of despair are laughable.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Borat claims, of the film, that "If it not success, [he] will be execute."
  • Eagleland: We see a lot of Flavor 2.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: During the naked brawl, and interrupted by a number of baffled witnesses.
  • Engineered Public Confession: The college students sued the makers of Borat over this. And lost.
  • Everything Is Racist: Most people shown in the south in the movie. The dinner party guests disperse as soon as they see Lunelle, and the antique store is filled with pro secession propaganda. Also the college students who are nice to Borat, but complains how "Minorities run the world". The guy behind the counter of the gun shop doesn't bat an eyelid when Borat asks for the best weapon for which to kill Jews and recommends a 9mm or a .45 and gives Borat a Desert Eagle to sample.
    • Of course handing him the Desert Eagle is itself Fridge Brilliance because it's an Israeli gun.
    • Not to mention that the guests getting up from the dinner might have more to do with the fact that he brought a streetwalker to a fancy sit down dinner than the fact that she's black.
  • Fan Disservice: The naked fight
    • Also the bonus scene of Borat and Azamat's Sexydrownwatch Baywatch idea. It can be found here (NSFW...a lot).
  • Fauxreigner
  • Fish out of Water
  • Foreign Queasine: Borat offers a politician some cheese that Borat's wife had made. To be polite, said politician eats some - and then Borat informs him that it was made from her breast milk.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Not in a visual sense, but if you pay close attention to Borat when he's speaking to Pamela Anderson at the film's climax, he mentions that both he and his deceased wife were children of Bogdev the village rapist.
  • Freudian Threat: Borat's wife threatens to snap off his cock if he cheats on her.
  • Funny Background Event: When Borat finally catches up with Azamat, they go to his apartment. When Azamat opens his fridge, a bear's head is clearly visible on a plate, implying that Azamat has been eating the bear.
  • Funny Foreigner
  • Gag Penis: Well, if the size of Borat's censor box (which reaches past his knees) during the naked fight is any indication. Inverted by Azamat. Long story short, he never needs a censor box at any point during the fight in question.
  • Global Ignorance: Borat's excuse to Azamat for visiting California (he actually intends to wed Pamela Anderson) is that "Pearl Harbor is there. So is Texas."
  • Greedy Jew: Spoofed, especially "The Running Of The Jew."
  • Henpecked Husband: Borat, whose wife threatens to snap his dick off if he cheats on her. Fortunately for him, she dies.
  • The Hero's Journey
  • Honest John's Dealership: Reversed here, as the dealer sells them a vehicle that is exactly as described: a used ice cream truck.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Lunell.
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: As an outsider, Borat is free to put his own mirror up to the silly conventions we take for granted.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Borat feeds cheese made with his wife's breast milk to unsuspecting people, only telling them this after they've eaten it.
  • Innocent Bigot: How Borat is portrayed. He's a generally friendly, well-meaning fellow and his grossly racist, misogynistic, and anti-Semitic views are a product of his upbringing in Kazakhstan, where such beliefs are apparently considered mainstream and normal.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: All over the place, starting with the movie's subtitle.
  • Irony: Borat asks for the best weapon to kill Jews. He's briefly given a Desert Eagle.
  • Literal-Minded: Borat thinks that a "pussy magnet" is an actual device that will forcibly attract women to his automobile, and he begs a car dealer to include a pussy magnet with the vehicle.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Borat sings the national anthem of fictional Kazakhstan to the tune of "The Star-Spangled Banner".
  • Madwoman in the Attic: Borat's "retard brother" Billo is apparently kept in a cage.
  • Man in a Bikini: Borat's "mankini".
  • Mid-Battle Tea Break: The elevator interlude during the naked fight. Of course, as soon as the doors open, pandemonium continues.
  • Mockumentary: And it could've been a real documentary if Borat was real.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The look on Borat's face when he realizes he spent the evening with two homosexuals tells the whole story.
  • Naked People Are Funny:
    • The naked brawl. Also present in the massage scene on the DVD, though Borat spends a lot of time in that under a towel.
    • Borat's son, who is used as a Sight Gag in a picture, although his son is actually a transsexual porn star named Stonie.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Borat bears an uncanny resemblance to Josef Stalin when he was young.
  • Notable Original Music: The "Kazakhstan National Anthem", which Borat attempts to sing to the tune of the American National Anthem and is played with its own music during the credits. The real national anthem was accidentally replaced with Borat's during a Kuwaiti target shooting competition where the winner was from Kazakhstan. She ascended the podium and was 'treated' to Borat's version, much to her displeasure.
  • No Woman's Land: Kazakhstan.
  • NOT!: A "comedy expert" struggles to teach Borat the intricacies of this witticism.
  • N-Word Privileges:
    • Sacha Baron Cohen is a practicing Jew, and so generally gets a pass for making anti-semitism such a big part of his act. Many Jews still criticize him, however.
    • Parodied when Borat tries to check into a hotel after getting a ghetto makeover.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Baron Cohen employs a great deal of this in his characterization of Borat.
  • Obliviously Evil: Really, you could forgive Borat for most of the offensive things he does, since he thinks they're completely normal, due to his very backwards upbringing.
  • Overly Long Gag: The naked brawl. The extras on the DVD have another in the form of Borat asking a grocery store employee what lots and lots and lots of items are. (They're all cheese.)
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: According to the anthem, Kazakhstan has the "cleanest prostitutes in the region, except, of course, for Turkmenistan".
    • Not to mention the famous pool whose filter is a "marvel to behold" in that it removes 80% of human solid waste.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Borat and Azamat are both extremely racist and misogynistic, leading to many instances of Cringe Comedy.
  • Poirot Speak
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Borat after getting a ghetto makeover.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Borat's idea of "marrying" Pamela Anderson is shoving her into a bag and trying to run off with her—an instance of marriage by capture. He almost makes it, too.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Technically, Borat is correct when he claims that on average, men have bigger brains than women. Because head size is proportional to body mass and men are usually bigger - although because women have denser collections of neurons, the actual brain capacity is identical.
  • Ruritania: Unlike Kazakhstan in real-life, which is a central Asian country dominated by the open steppe, the film's version of Kazakhstan is more like an amalgamation of the various Warsaw Pact countries with their backwardness and social problems exaggerated to ghoulish, comedic extremes. Of course, in real life, the Kazakhs are a Turkic people who have historically had more in-common with the various Mongol tribes than any Slavic culture. Reinforced by the borderline incomprehensible mix of Polish, Hebrew, and Armenian words in the place of any actual Kazakh language.
  • Scare Chord: Parodied, upon Borat's discovery that his hosts for the night are Jewish.
  • Scylla and Charybdis: The victims in the film often find themselves in this sort of dilemma: Accommodating Borat's culture, with its innocent, but genuine, bigotry is one thing. Making clear that you don't agree is another. Trying to somehow do both is well-nigh impossible.
  • Self-Deprecation: All the jokes mocking Judaism can be countered by the fact that Sacha Baron Cohen himself is Jewish. Fair enough.
  • Springtime for Hitler: The audience claps, cheers, and enthusiastically joins in with Borat's performance of "Throw the Jew Down the Well".
  • Short Title: Long, Elaborate Subtitle:
    • Used for comedy. Also taken to the next level with the soundtrack: Stereophonic Musical Listenings That Have Been Origin in Moving Film "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan"
  • Shout-Out: Azamat is dressed as Oliver Hardy when he and Borat reunite, and even tells him that "this is another fine mess [he's] gotten them into."
  • Stalker with a Crush: Borat becomes this to Pamela Anderson.
  • Stylistic Suck: Borat's MySpace page, as well as the original official web site for the movie, which was done as an atrocious personal home page. Also used in-film with the faux-Kazakh Stock Footage.
    • The DVD itself also deliberately looks like a burned copy bootleg, and the poster is printed to look it has crease marks and other damage.
    • The entire performance of "Throw the Jew Down the Well" definitely qualifies. His nasally voice can barely carry a tune, he's carrying a clearly detuned cheap guitar which closer inspection reveals he's not even playing, many of the lines don't rhyme or carry a consistent scheme, and that's not even counting the content of the lyrics. The audience enthusiastically claps along and cheers anyway.
  • Super-Stoic Shopkeeper:
    • Charting the lack of reactions to Borat's insane and offensive behavior is just as big a part of the comedy as their befuddlement and outrage.
    • The gun shop owner barely bats an eye before recommending a Desert Eagle to "kill Jews." In his defense, he might have simply been recommending a large purchase to an obviously ignorant customer, or playing a subtle joke by selling an Israeli weapon to an obvious anti-semite.
    • When Borat asks what speed he should drive to kill gypsies, the driving instructor merely tells him to keep it at around 40 mph.
    • In one of the deleted scenes, Borat visits a supermarket and asks the supermarket manager what every single item in the cheese section is...he very patiently replies "That's cheese" to every single one.
  • The Tease: According to Borat, his sister enjoyed teasing their brother:
    Borat: Sometime, my sister, she show her vazhin to my brother Bilo and say "You will never get this, you will never get it, la la la la la la!" He behind his cage, he cries, and everybody laughs. She goes "You will never get this," but one time he break cage, and he get this, and then we all laugh.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: That poor man in the corner of the elevator had this when Borat and Azamat got on, completely naked. Honestly, you can't really blame him.
  • Totally Radical: Deconstructed. Borat's attempts at speaking hip-hop slang make him look like a fool to hotel personnel and get him expelled from the lobby for using swear words and calling the receptionist "vanilla face".
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Quite possibly the most uncomfortable elevator moment in cinematic history. To elaborate, both men have been running around naked through a hotel, screaming in foreign-sounding gibberish. One of the men was threatening to beat the other silly with a huge rubber dildo. The prop is brought along for the ride in an already occupied elevator. Both men face forward, stand quietly, and enjoy the elevator ride. DING! Doors open. Running and screaming resume.
    • When Borat and Azamat enter the elevator naked, nearly all of the people on the elevator immediately get off. In fact, at first it looks like they're the only ones standing in the elevator until the camera quickly shifts and reveals a stone-faced man tucked in the corner.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist
  • Unusual Euphemism: Chocolate face and vanilla facenote .
    • Hand partynote .
    • Romance explosionnote .
  • Vulgar Humor: After politely asking a group of Southern ladies if he could be excused to use the restroom, Borat comes back with a baggie of his own poop, politely asking where he can place it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The bear's head can be seen inside the fridge when Borat and Azamat make up, but the rest of its body? God knows.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Borat's accent is a whole lot of things, but it is (intentionally) not Kazakh.


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