Hitch on Borat


Spot-on. I also found the movie to be inspired but a bit repetitive and one-note. But one scene was indeed transcendent, and A. O. Scott understands why:

In the film, Borat is accompanied on his journey across America by his producer, a grossly obese, unshaven fellow of questionable hygienic diligence named Azamat. One evening, Borat emerges from the shower to discover Azamat lying in the hotel-room bed, masturbating over Borat’s cherished pictures from 'Baywatch.' In a fury, Borat attacks his friend, and what follows is an extended nude man-on-man wrestling match, followed by a hot pursuit through hallways, elevators and a crowded banquet room — a tour de force of jiggling flesh, unkempt body hair and startling erotic implication.

A very hard scene to describe, not only because the standards of this publication impose constraints that the M.P.A.A.'s R rating — which apparently mandated the superimposition of black bars over some choice bits of anatomy — does not. And not only because I was laughing so hard that my vision went blurry and my pen fell from my hand. But the intensity of that laughter offers a clue. I was helpless, unhinged, completely out of my mind. This had nothing to do with Kazakhstan or America or 'cultural learnings' of any kind. This was, the display of skin notwithstanding, one of the oldest jokes in the book: a tall, skinny man and a short, fat man fighting. A no-brainer. The dumbest kind of dumb show. And, therefore, a brief — actually, an almost unbearably long — reminder of a glorious tradition. To say that Borat and Azamat’s naked skirmish resists capture in words is to identify it as the moment when 'Borat: Cultural Learnings' transcends its small-screen origins and achieves the condition of cinema, climbing the ladder from titter to yowl, past belly laugh and into the wordless Utopian realm of the boffo.

(Photo: Ralf Juergens/Getty.)