What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that teens are definitely going to want to see this movie because it has been promoted non-stop on MTV, Comedy Central, Saturday Night Live, among others. It stars cult sensation Sacha Baron Cohen of Da Ali G Show. It's undeniably raunchy, vulgar, and funny; Baron Cohen uses his character Borat to expose the effects of ignorance by targeting ignorant behavior. But unless you want to dive under your seat or clap your hands over their eyes and ears, this is absolutely not kid entertainment. Fake "reporter" Borat lampoons Americans' sexism, racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, religious intolerance, classism, and ageism by putting people on the spot and peppering them with questions. The movie is full of stuff like naked men wrestling (an extended, rather explicit sequence); visual gags about prostitution, feminism, and marriage (a wife's death is celebrated); toilet humor (literally); and some physical fighting/clumsiness. Jokes aimed at U.S. popular culture and beliefs include references to Baywatch, Michael Jackson, "Dirty Harold," Pentecostal church practices, Jews, rodeos/cowboys, etiquette, patriotic pride, hip-hop culture, and college fraternities. Language includes "f--k," "c--k," "s--t," "ass," "p---y," and just about anything else you can imagine (some in subtitles).
- Families can talk about deliberately offensive humor. Does Borat's mockery of ignorance and prejudice help the people he targets understand his point, or are they clueless "victims" of his humor? What point is the movie trying to make?
- Ask your kids if they think viewers who identify with some of theintolerant/over-earnest people Borat interviews will see themselves ina new light. Or will they feel upset by the on-screen encounters?
- Does the satire help or simply entertain? How can you tell the difference?