British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen best known as the titular character of HBO's "Da Ali G. Show," inhabits another one of his peculiar personas in the juvenile and cumbersomely titled mock documentary "Borat! Cultural Learning of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" (20th Century Fox). Cohen is Borat Sagdiyev, a clueless, anti-Semitic journalist from Kazakhstan who travels to the United States to report on the American way of life. (Think a wacky combination of Charlie Chaplin, Alexis d'Tocqueville and Yakov Smirnoff.) After seeing Pamela Anderson in an episode of "Baywatch" while staying in a New York hotel, the chauvinistic Borat becomes infatuated with her, embarking on a cross-country odyssey with his portly producer, Azamat (Ken Davitian), to meet and woo the curvaceous actress. Some of the outrageous pranks -- many involving real people not in on the joke -- are, admittedly, funny. (At one point, Borat's suitcase flies open on a crowded subway unleashing a live rooster on the startled straphangers.) But in satirizing American culture and politics, any wit is heavily outweighed by vulgarity, as Cohen and director Larry Charles go for shock laughs that range from the distasteful (in the opening tour of his village, Borat introduces viewers to the "town rapist"), to the visually gross (a naked Borat and Azamat get into a protracted tussle in their hotel room that spills out into the hallway and, eventually, a packed convention room downstairs). The film contains pervasive coarse sexual and scatological humor, crass sight gags, masturbation, nudity, some irreverent remarks, and excessive rough and crude language, as well as some ethnic stereotypes. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian
These movies have been evaluated for artistic merit and moral suitability by the media reviewing division of Catholic News Service. The reviews include the CNS rating, the Motion Picture Association of America rating, and a brief synopsis of the movie.
The classifications are as follows:
A-I -- general patronage;
A-II -- adults and adolescents;
A-III -- adults;
L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. L replaces the previous classification, A-IV.
O -- morally offensive.
Note: Some movies previously were designated A-IV. Older films with this classification should be regarded as classified L.