Borat (2006)

20th Century Fox

Sacha Baron Cohen impersonates a sexist, anti-Semitic, generally clueless Kazakh journalist who makes Americans feel free to say things they wouldn’t ordinarily say. He’s gloriously ignorant, but his guilelessness brings out the worst in people who should know better. (And also, very occasionally, the best.)

Borat’s behavior is wildly offensive, but he’s so demented that you can’t help but feel sorry for him, and Baron Cohen and his team manage to strike a perfect mix of revulsion and vulnerability. What’s most impressive is how much of it Baron Cohen had to improvise on the fly, in tense and often dangerous positions.

The 2020 sequel, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, is also terrific.

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