Picks and Pans Review: Borat Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

UPDATED 11/13/2006 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 11/13/2006 at 01:00 AM EST

Sacha Baron Cohen, Ken Davitian
BY LEAH ROZEN
CRITIC'S CHOICE
COMEDY

In what has to be a screen-billing first, a fellow is credited at the end of this fabulously outrageous comedy as the "naked fight coordinator." That guy earned his money with one scene, an extended grappling match between two sweaty, hairy, buck-naked men, neither of them an Adonis. It is the single funniest scene this year. Heck, that goes for the whole movie, all 82 rude, crude and yet brilliant minutes of it.

Borat is a guerrilla road movie. Englishman Baron Cohen (of HBO's Da Ali G Show) pretends to be Borat Sagdiyev, a boorish TV reporter from Kazakhstan. As Borat, he travels across the U.S., along with his grumpy producer (it's these two who eventually exchange blows in the buff), conning unsuspecting, unfailingly polite real Americans (including feminists, drunken frat boys and rodeo fans) into answering his ever more outrageous questions. No one clocks Borat, though he's begging for it. It's the culture clash that makes this all so funny. Disguised as bumbling Borat, Baron Cohen keeps pulling our leg and we just keep extending it. (R)

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