I probably shouldn't admit to this publicly because there are those who surely would think less of me, but I am a huge fan of Sacha Baron Cohen. I think his humor is absolutely brilliant precisely because of its offensive edginess. I know, I know, he's completely not PC and if nothing else, I should be offended on behalf of my students, but I can't help myself. He's just too funny.
I finally saw Borat accompanied by a good friend who laughed at least as loudly as I did. Believe me, I wouldn't have gone with just anyone. The film is an elaboration of the "Kazakh" journalist character from Da Ali G Show . While I feared that a full length feature might be too much of a good thing, it was just about right, nude wrestling scene notwithstanding. That I could have done without, but the rest was filled with the characteristic exposure of ignorance and prejudice of unwitting subjects for which Baron Cohen is famous. Just in case you think you're safe in a liberal oasis like my hometown, Borat shows that there are still plenty of anti-Semitic, homophobic, misogynistic racists out there in the US. It's not an easy film to watch but I found it wickedly brilliant nonetheless.
The biggest surprise for me--apart from actually recognizing a few words of Hebrew--was hearing a song from Time of the Gypsies, a 1988 Yugoslavian film which is surely one of my favorite movies of all time. It was an amazing musical choice for that point in the movie and I couldn't have been more surprised.