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X-Ray Cat Irradiates BORAT (from the Ali G Guy)!!

Merrick was indahouse once, and got thrown out…

Here’s a look at a new movie from Sasha Baron Cohen (“Ali G”). It's called BORAT; this Cohen character is a TV journalist from Kazakhstan.

The film is directed by Larry Charles – Executive Producer of THE TICK, a writer & Supervising Producer on SEINFELD, a director of CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, and a writer on ENTOURAGE. As far as I’m concerned, Cohen + Charles = a pretty interesting set of credentials.

X-Ray Cat caught a screening of a BORAT work print last night, and was kind enough to tell us about it.

Here’s X-Ray Cat…

Hey, this is X-Ray Cat, I wrote a so-so review of NACHO LIBRE a couple weeks back. Tonight I saw a work print screening of Sasha Baron Cohen's new Ali G spin-off BORAT. Like most people, Borat is my favorite of Cohen's characters, so I was pretty excited about this one except for the whole Todd Phillips incident.

If you don't know, Phillips dropped out as director early on after an incident at a rodeo supposedly got out of control. I like Todd's stuff so I gave him the benefit of the doubt, and wondered if maybe Cohen had gone too far. Plus his replacement, Larry "The Other Larry" Charles, didn't instill a lot of confidence. I like his work on "Seinfeld" but I had such a lukewarm reaction to MASKED & ANONYMOUS that I didn't bother finishing it. So anyway, what did I think? Todd Phillips fucked up, and Cohen and Charles are goddamn geniuses.

BORAT isn't just a funny way to kill some time. It's a comedy classic that people will still be showing their friends in 20 years. I don't want to give away any of the sequences, because the unpredictable nature of the movie is a huge part of what makes it so hilarious, but rest assured that there are some scenes that belong in the record books, and at least three or four of the most shocking pranks ever put on film.

The story involves the Kazakhstan government sending Borat, his producer, and a documentary crew to America to learn important lessons from the greatest country in the world. Along the way, Borat becomes much more interested in locating, marrying, and taking the virginity of Pamela Anderson. Instead of using the story as a framing device for Borat's interviews, everything is meshed together, so real people end up becoming characters and plot devices.

Although Cohen pulls off some of the bravest, craziest shit I've seen in a while, he never crosses the line (although some of the other people in the audience disagreed), and the only people who come off looking bad are the various racist homophobe assholes he meets and gives just enough rope to hang themselves with. In fact, Borat is a sympathetic and likable character, and he actually gets an emotional moment here and there.

If Warner Bros. is pushing this as a wide release, I'm worried that they'll cave and take out some of the more objectionable chunks of the movie. After all, there's graphic male nudity, extensive racial slurs, endless sexual innuendo, and general political incorrectness all around. Most of the audience was laughing as hard as I was, but they mostly seemed to be familiar with the character and with that kind of comedy. Some of the uninitiated seemed squeemish. If this came out this Friday unchanged from how I saw it tonight, I guarantee that it will make waves in the geek community. This DVD belongs on the same shelf as BLUES BROTHERS and SPINAL TAP. It's that fucking funny.

If memory serves, BORAT will hit screens sometime in November…

Readers Talkback
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  • April 26, 2006, 9:24 a.m. CST


    by skoolbus

    Rodeo scene still in the movie?

  • April 26, 2006, 9:24 a.m. CST

    It'll be great.

    by Jar Jar 4 Prez

    anybody who's seen Ali G knows that.

  • April 26, 2006, 9:25 a.m. CST

    Yay Borat

    by John-Locke

    I think Borat is a much funnier character than Ali-G, I'm glad he's been given his own film, It's not going to be hard for this to be better than the Ali-G film anyway, and even that isn't too bad really.

  • April 26, 2006, 9:26 a.m. CST

    Borat for President!

    by RealDoubleJ

  • April 26, 2006, 9:27 a.m. CST


    by williamp78

    First! Borat rules! And did you americans ever see da ali g movie? It wasn't great but heres hoping for a classic this time.

  • April 26, 2006, 9:28 a.m. CST

    She must be tight, like a man's a-nus

    by kuryakin

    Hey I like Ali G In da house, so what the fuck do I know? But this sounds great

  • April 26, 2006, 9:32 a.m. CST

    Borat scared the cr@p out of MTV

    by broadsmile

    Cohen presented this year's MTV Europe's Music Awards, which goes out across all the countries he spoofs. Most of the language he says is Kazakstani is actually Polish, which, as you can imagine, didn't go down too well... Neither did the paedo dance routine, funnily enough.

  • April 26, 2006, 9:40 a.m. CST

    sexy relations

    by georges garvaren

    borat is nice. yes. very niiice.

  • April 26, 2006, 10:10 a.m. CST

    BORAT will rule. The studio better not water it down.

    by stlfilmwire


  • April 26, 2006, 10:44 a.m. CST

    RE: Rodeo

    by X-Ray Cat

    The rodeo scene is still in the movie. I'm not sure if any of Todd's other scenes are still there or not. The way it's put together makes me suspect they shot mostly in order, and the rodeo scene is about 15 minutes in. Larry is the sole credited director though.

  • April 26, 2006, 10:50 a.m. CST

    Jagshmesh, I can't wait.

    by modlight

  • April 26, 2006, 11:02 a.m. CST

    X-RAY CAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by darth wayne

  • April 26, 2006, 11:04 a.m. CST

    X-RAY CAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by darth wayne

    uhh...I meant to say, I will trust implicitly the opinion of anyone who uses a screen name that's a Freddy Got Fingered reference! Yes, i'm being 100% serio. FGF remains the most brilliant and unappreciated comedy of the last 5 years.

  • April 26, 2006, 11:11 a.m. CST

    Ardent fan here...

    by LucienPierce

    ...And I have been since before Ali G crossed over to the US. Followed the UK series from the very beginning and between Borat and Ali G I've never laughed so much EVER. Now listen, I've laughed...but not to the point where I couldn't breath. Borat playing cricket did that for me. Borat playing Bowls. Borat interviewing animal activists...come to think of it, it'll probably be fatal watching 90 minutes of Borat but at least I'll go with a smile on my face...Cannot wait!

  • April 26, 2006, 11:16 a.m. CST


    by brycemonkey

    Heh! Now I've got your attention... I don't really get the love for Borat/Ali G. It was funny about 5 years ago when it was flavour of the month. Now it just seems like an old one trick pony that ought to get retired. I'm surprised that it is still relevant to people, where are you from/based BTW?

  • April 26, 2006, 11:32 a.m. CST

    Some of you aint ever even seen a black man B4

    by quadrupletree

    This guy is not a plant (at least I don't think so), the reports I've heard of people at test screenings of this is people all saying that they've never laughed so hard in thier lives. And I for one am inclined to believe it, cause Borat is comedy gold. Aight?

  • April 26, 2006, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Comedy gold?

    by brycemonkey

    Yeah, Ali G- Play a fake black/urban guy. Say rude things that people don't understand. Follow up with Borat- play fake minority/foreign guy. Say rude things that people don't understand. Repeat for 5 years. So laughing at minorities or foreign people and saying rude things is funny now?

  • April 26, 2006, 12:13 p.m. CST

    No is not.

    by Kingdaddy

    But will you please get off the cross? Someone else needs the wood. Thanks.

  • April 26, 2006, 12:15 p.m. CST

    silly, silly me.

    by samsquanch

    I saw the X and thought for a second that the moratorium on any and all X-3 news had been lifted, but alas, the long cold night continues...

  • April 26, 2006, 12:16 p.m. CST

    No, no, brycemonkey

    by paralyser-pro

    It's not the rudeness part that is funny. It's how he insidiously wins the trust of racists and homophobes and gets them to admit how foul they are, without even realising it. We laugh because it's a)unexpected and b)we are in on the joke and c)racists and homophobes are complete tossers and wastes of human genetic code and deserve every but of ridicule they get, despite the painful truth that it goes over their heads. You see, we say in Kazakhstan that a horse is like a man. That if a horse is good it is like a man is good; and that if a horse is bad, is like a man is bad; And if a horse is hungry is like a man is hungry; and if a horse is sad is like if a man is sad; And we say if a horse is happy is like when a man is happy; HorseWe say if a horse is angry is like if man is angry; We say if a horse walk is like when a man walk; we say if a horse is old is like when a man is old; and we say if horse is young is like when a man is young; And the same we say if a horse is old is like when a man is old; And if a horse small, is like when a man's small; And if a horse is dead is like if a man dead; Also we say if a horse is sleep, goes to sleep like if a man sleep; And if horse wake if like if man wake; And if horse ill, is like if a man ill; If horse have foot is like man have foot; If horse on the grass is like if a man walk on grass; We say, in Kazakhstan is you hit horse it is like if you hit man; And we say if you kiss horse is like you kiss man; So we say horse is like man. Do you understand? Okay, time to go and have sexy time liquid explosion. Jenqui!

  • April 26, 2006, 12:21 p.m. CST

    Sexy Time Explosion!...

    by donkingkong

    Fuck we gotta wait until November?!!! WB better not puss out and take the balls outta this movie. Borat fucking rules!

  • April 26, 2006, 12:23 p.m. CST

    Actually my complaint is less about...

    by brycemonkey

    the inherent racism. And more about the same joke/set-up being used for years. I do take on your point about racists/homophobes etc but always thought that Louis Theroux did this in a much more subtle way (i.e. without resorting to dressing up and funny accents). Peace.

  • April 26, 2006, 12:27 p.m. CST

    Borat = yawn!

    by Wormie

    Back in the late 90s, when Ali G first appeared on The 11 O'Clock Show in the UK, he was funny (Ricky Gervais started out on that show as well), but that character is played out now. When Ali G got his own show, the Borat bits were arse. It was sad to see Cohen still doing Borat at the MTV Europe Awards last year. The prospect of a whole Borat movie fills me with meh.

  • April 26, 2006, 12:30 p.m. CST

    I hava wi-fuh...

    by smackfu

    I'm always amazed by how much crazy shit he can get people to do just by exploiting their desire to be congenial and patient with a foreigner. I pretty much hate just about every other thing Cohen does, but his Borat character is one of the greatest comedic creations in years.

  • April 26, 2006, 12:31 p.m. CST

    Here's why we'll really go to teh film...

    by paralyser-pro

    We know it ain't coming to the theatres in an unrated form, we'll have to wait for the dvd to see all that. The enjoyment will be sitting and waiting for the average clueless fuck to squirm with discomfort, shout imbecilic vitriol at the screen, then leave. You know, the same type of people that took their little kids to see Silent Hill last weekend and left saying "that wasn't Street Fighter..." It's called geek's revenge, people! LOOOOVE IIIIT!

  • April 26, 2006, 12:36 p.m. CST

    Finally some Cohen hate!

    by brycemonkey

    After the first 20 "OMG! Borat is the funniest things in the world" posts I though it was just me. *Phew*

  • April 26, 2006, 12:42 p.m. CST

    Always a hater

    by goondock

    I just don't get the complaint that Borat uses the same boring joke set-up. Somtimes the comedy comes from the Borat character, and sometimes it comes from the people he's interviewing, which keeps things fresh enough for me. Stephen Colbert basically does the same thing on a nightly basis and he's still doing well. In my opinion this type of reality based comedy is always fresh because you can't predict how the people in the scene will react.

  • April 26, 2006, 1:09 p.m. CST

    don't uderstand the hate

    by quadrupletree

    But i guess it figures. Frankly I don't care about the haters, I can honestly say that I've never laughed so hard in my life as I have watching some of the HBO series episodes for the first time. Litterally on the floor, rolling, laughing uncontrollably, tears in my eyes. If it doesn't have that effect on you, that's cool, I'm not asking any one else to like it too, don't go see it. I'm looking forward to this movie more than I can tell you though...

  • April 26, 2006, 1:12 p.m. CST

    and the UK show

    by quadrupletree

    Wasn't that funny in my oppinion. It was good don't get me wrong, but the brits ruin EVERYTHING by adding laugh tracks. What's up with that? It can't be funny without a laugh track? Everything just comes off as cheesy to American audiences when you add a laugh track.

  • April 26, 2006, 1:40 p.m. CST

    'Everything just comes off as cheesy ........

    by MKiro American audiences when you add a laugh track.' Greatest.sarcastic.comment.ever.

  • April 26, 2006, 1:45 p.m. CST

    Borat Invades 'Merica!

    by donkingkong

    BryceMonkey have you ever seen an episode of the Ali G HBO series? You probally only know him as the "wigger" guy in the Madonna video. I was late on the bandwagon myself because I don't have HBO, and I too was tired of the wanna-be hip-hop persona clowns, it's been played out for a while now. On a lark I rented the 1st season of the HBO series and have been hooked ever since. Borat is some of the funniest shit I have ever bjorn witness to, it is so fucking brillant. Suppose it could be just my personal comedic preferences, but judging from the mostly positive talk-backs I'm not alone here. In America I think Cohen's comedy could work because he is still relatively unknown, hence the comedy still fresh. I know of nobody currently doing what he's doing here in America, at least on the level. Sure Colbert and the Daily Show are great but I see them as an different animal. All I am say-ing is give Borat a chance...

  • April 26, 2006, 2:11 p.m. CST

    Ahhhh... Now I see.

    by brycemonkey

    I haven't seen the HBO stuff, just the UK stuff. OK, so I'll stop all my hate until I catch some of the new stuff (although I reserve the right to revert to a hater if he hasn't elevated the character/show/humour). Peace.

  • April 26, 2006, 2:19 p.m. CST

    brycemonkey, fair 'nuff

    by donkingkong

    There's a good kid. You know maybe it ain't your cup 'o tea, but I likey.

  • April 26, 2006, 2:35 p.m. CST

    What happened at the rodeo anyway???

    by Jonesey1111

    Just want to know...

  • April 26, 2006, 2:39 p.m. CST

    Jonesey... yeah my interest is piqued also.

    by brycemonkey

    Did he fuck a rodeo clown? Or even worse, a rodeo clown midget?

  • April 26, 2006, 2:40 p.m. CST

    bryce, I hope so...

    by Jonesey1111

    midgets rule!

  • April 26, 2006, 2:41 p.m. CST

    What happened at the rodeo

    by X-Ray Cat

    The movie just shows him talking to some of the cowboys and then performing a modified national anthem with a violently pro-Bush introduction. Accordion to an article I saw, it was difficult for the film crew to escape the angry crowd.

  • April 26, 2006, 2:41 p.m. CST

    is this like the Ali G movie?

    by MiltonWaddams

    Ali G messes with real life people in real life situations, so for a movie they put him as a character in a 100% fake world and it's not even close to funny?

  • April 26, 2006, 2:42 p.m. CST


    by X-Ray Cat

    Obviously, I meant according.

  • April 26, 2006, 2:53 p.m. CST

    borat is SO much funnier than ali g.

    by mocky_puppet

    probably because he's older. but mad props to ali for giving borat a forum. they should do some kind of special together; that would be cool.

  • April 26, 2006, 3:03 p.m. CST

    Cheers X-Ray

    by brycemonkey

    Unfortunately it proves that my own mind is more warped than 'Borats'. And Jonesey you are correct, sir.

  • April 26, 2006, 3:08 p.m. CST

    I don't trust the reviewer

    by barryap

    Because I don't trust anyone who uses a Freddy Got Fingered reference as their nom de plume.

  • April 26, 2006, 3:16 p.m. CST

    Todd Phillips

    by Mr Brownstone

    directed the documentary HATED about GG Allin And The Murder Junkies so I don't think he left Borat because he's sqeamish... then again he also made Bittersweet Motel about Phish (one of the most mediocre bands of all time) so I guess he turned into a pussy in the meantime.

  • April 26, 2006, 4:08 p.m. CST

    haha mocky_puppet

    by paralyser-pro

    Are you taking the piss? Ali G and Borat together would be like Superman and Clark Kent. Beside the fact they had a scene together in Indahouse...well, a cameo really...

  • April 26, 2006, 4:44 p.m. CST

    Borat vs Ali G

    by danowen

    Borat works better in the US because Americans understand his character. He's the cliche foreigner fish-out-of-water in perhaps THE best embodiment of a First World country (the US). When Borat was in the UK it also worked very well, particularly when you threw in the fact Brits like to be polite to "Johnny Foreigners". Shades of "Empirical superiority" abound between Borat and UK 'marks'. A lot of US 'marks' who weren't in the public eye (politicians, etc) were more rude or ignorant of Borat, imo, than the Brits ever were (our marks just sympathized or became irritable with him onscreen). However... Ali G works far better in the UK because of our class system and the fact we have a sub-culture of white youths pretending to be black Americans. Americans have this social trend as well, but it has an added layer of humour for Brits because we see a white BRIT trying be American AND black. For Americans, I think the added Britishness to Ali G's character just alienates too much from the central gimmick. So Yanks just see him as a stupid gangsta-wannabe with a weird accent. Therefore, Borat works with the US and UK to varying degrees because he's a foreigner to us both.

  • April 26, 2006, 4:48 p.m. CST

    Laugh tracks

    by danowen

    Don't get me started on laugh tracks. Proper live audience recordings are fine. But I hate it when they mix the two. The US is THE greatest sinner with that regard. I can't even watch Friends of any similar US sitcom due to the manic laughing. They laugh at ANYTHING. Actors walk through the fucking door and there's 5 secs of hollering!! I'm amazed the US Office kept the UK's no laugh-track edict, personally. Still, Malcolm In The Middle, My Name Is Earl... I think the US is getting better now...

  • April 26, 2006, 4:48 p.m. CST


    by shalashaska


  • April 26, 2006, 4:57 p.m. CST

    Borat/Ali G

    by BDDres

    I love it when people think that the Borat and Ali G characters are two different

  • April 26, 2006, 5:47 p.m. CST

    Borat vs Ali G by danowen...

    by donkingkong

    Spot on dude. The fact that Cohen can still "take the piss" outta politicians and persons of pop culture in general is something that the Daily Show can no longer pull off, well not with any degree of genuineness anyway. To America Cohen is still a relative unknown for the masses. Oh yeah and ditto with that laugh track shit that shoulda' died with the I Love Lucy show in the frigg'n 50's.

  • April 26, 2006, 5:50 p.m. CST

    borat kills me

    by the_pissboy1

    Ali's funny but the Borat stuff makes me die with laughter.

  • April 26, 2006, 6:36 p.m. CST

    HIGH FIVE!!!

    by Elmore Rigby

    Yeksamesh! My wife killed by hunter, mistake her for bear. My sister, she is nice. Everybody dancing now!

  • April 26, 2006, 7:25 p.m. CST

    re: Shalashaska & Elmore Rigby

    by mattw

    Yes, Shalashaska & Elmore Rigby, those are Borat quotes. Very good.

  • April 26, 2006, 8:41 p.m. CST

    Frat House

    by Mr Brownstone

    I highly recommend checking out Phillips unaired HBO documentary series 'Frat House'. Most of the eps are on youtube and they're hilarious. #4 being a real stand out.

  • April 26, 2006, 8:43 p.m. CST

    Borat is pure genius

    by performingmonkey

    It's sad that this will no doubt be the end for Borat (as it's pretty much the end for Ali G also) but at least the movie seems to have shaped up really well. Ali G worked so much better with the British audience, for him to work better in the U.S. he needed to be American rather than British. The whole original idea was to dupe politicians in the UK who at the time, early in Blair's 'new' Britain, where obsessed with getting down with the youth, and they were too scared what would be said about them if they refused to be interviewed by him. The character caught on and Sacha Baron Cohen became a phenomenom. It was when he got his own series proper and he introduced Borat that he gave himself legendary status. I've never seen anyone duped by a fake character in the same way. Cohen is SO believable as Borat because we in the West are so far removed.

  • April 26, 2006, 9:20 p.m. CST

    In my country there is problem

    by Hercules

    And that problem is most Americans have still not encountered the genius that is Borat!!

  • April 26, 2006, 9:41 p.m. CST

    A few people I know saw this and loved it

    by Doc_McCoy

    Said the scripted stuff was meh but the unscripted got JACKASS THE MOVIE-sized laughs from the audience. I.e. laughing until tears were rolling from their eyes.

  • April 26, 2006, 9:48 p.m. CST

    no one's said PLANT yet?

    by Dannychico

    methinks this one is obvious.

  • April 27, 2006, 12:03 a.m. CST

    Borat Rules

    by ghostofjimispast

    This is his response to the accusations from the Khazakhstan government. Hilarious: This movie should be good. - jimi

  • April 27, 2006, 2:42 a.m. CST

    Ill wait on this one

    by misnomer

    I've always preferred borat to ali g, but ali really didn't translate to a movie situation-ali g indahouse is probably one of the worst juvenile films ever made-what makes these characters funny is how they show up the person being interviewed as a completely gullible bigot (all the cowboys singing "throw the jew down the well so country can be free" and add to that the fact it's a jew singing it...) thats what makes cohen a genius..."my wife she-a deaad, no don't worry I-a haavve a new wiife."

  • April 27, 2006, 8:47 a.m. CST

    borat is the shizzle

    by syco

    i cant wait to see it.when are we gonna get a scoop on the transformers movie?!?!

  • April 27, 2006, 2:51 p.m. CST

    Well done on the link, ghostofjimispast

    by raw_bean

    That had me rolling on the floor. To homewrecker I say, check out the link provided above: no tricks/entrapment, just a piss-funny and ironic response to the Kazakstani government's intention to sue Cohen over his depiction of their country (there're some people in need of humour transplants).

  • April 27, 2006, 4:45 p.m. CST

    "a mossad agent"

    by DocPazuzu

    What a surprise that the most humorless (and mentally ill) talkbacker in history not only doesn't find Borat funny but thinks he's a Mossad agent. Tell me, homewrecker, is there anyone you don't like who ISN'T a Mossad agent?

  • April 27, 2006, 5:10 p.m. CST

    Brits and laugh tracks

    by Kaitain

    "Wasn't that funny in my oppinion. It was good don't get me wrong, but the brits ruin EVERYTHING by adding laugh tracks. What's up with that? It can't be funny without a laugh track? Everything just comes off as cheesy to American audiences when you add a laugh track." *** This is a gag, right? Just checking...