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The funniest movie ever made (???)

November 2, 2006

BORATEntertainment Weekly says on its cover that comedian Sasha Baron Cohen‘s new film, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” could be the funniest movie ever made. It comes to theaters tomorrow.

I think Ty Webb, Judge Smails, Al Czervik and Danny Noonan would disagree with that contention. And it’s hard to top “You can’t fight in here. This is a war room!” from Dr. Strangelove. But I digress.

The movie, shot in documentary style, covers the travels of one of Cohen’s best characters from his TV show, “Da Ali G Show.” Borat Sagdiyev, a TV reporter from Kazakhstan, ventures to the States to make a documentary film about American culture for the benefit of his own country (and so he can “make sexysexy” with actress Pamela Anderson).

As “Borat” travels the country, most people are unaware of Cohen’s act, and the film uncovers many unusual sides of American behavior. All the while, Borat makes off-color comments about being the son of a rapist and other various ethnic slurs that exceed P.C. boundaries. But to Borat, it’s OK, because that’s how life is in his country … he doesn’t know any better.

It’s that “innocence” of Borat that makes this “fish out of water” film so appealing. And despite the recent reduction of theater screens showing this film (800 nationwide), look for “Borat” to have a huge opening weekend.

However, the film’s concept did not go over well in Kazakhstan, where the country’s leaders felt they needed to consult with President Bush and start an advertising campaign for their country’s tourism efforts to counter the bad press expected from Cohen’s picture.

Good luck to Cohen. The rights to his next movie, based off of his gay fashion-critic character, Bruno, already sold to Universal Pictures for a whopping 22 million pounds

[UPDATE: Since it’s hard to describe Borat’s style, here’s a clip of him on the Late Show with David Letterman. Dave does look a tad uncomfortable.]

[2ND UPDATE: Fox News’ Roger Friedman tells of one of Borat’s “victims,” Dharma Arthur, a local TV news producer, who says she lost her job after Cohen’s people tricked her into letting Borat on their morning show, who caused all sorts of chaos.

Her quotes from her Newsweek-posted letter:

“Because of him, my boss lost faith in my abilities and second-guessed everything I did thereafter,” she writes in Newsweek’s most recent issue. “I spiraled into depression, and before I could recover, I was released from my contract early. It took me three months to find another job, and now I’m thousands of dollars in debt and struggling to keep my house out of foreclosure.”

I think she may have a good lawsuit here. At least a good shot at a settlement.]

[3RD UPDATE: Today, Roger Friedman of FOX News.com says that Dharma Arthur is only looking for an apology from Cohen’s production company, not a lawsuit or settlement.]

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