I think a good way to sum up the movie is that, on the surface, it's extremely low-brow humor whose purpose to get cheap laughs from shock value. But underneath that it's pretty complex. I think that thoughtful people who care about how others are treated and have a personal and specific idea of how they are and should be portrayed, leave the movie pretty perplexed by it's popularity and humor.
A lot of people were upset at how it perpetuated stereotypes of the American South. Then again, those scenes aren't scripted. I tried to get a feel for how certain demographics perceived the movie; interestingly, many Southern and Christian publications give the movie a good review, citing that it points out how America has a long way to go when it comes to intolerance and dumb bigoted conformity. For instance, the Christian Science Monitor loved it.
Others, "not so much..."
(AgapePress) - If a deeply-accented reporter from Kazakhstan approaches you and asks to film the two of you while you use your occupation to teach him about American culture -- run. You are about to get punk'd. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is the creation of edgy comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, who also is the man behind the character "Ali G." Borat's fan base consists of the kind of people who find funny immensely vulgar comedy which produces its laughs at the expense of often completely innocent people. Unfortunately, there are many such fans. Borat had such a gargantuan per-screen average in its opening week that Fox is more than tripling its number of screens in its second week of release.
I am sure that Cohen would like nothing more than to be labeled a morally subversive envelope-pusher, and there is a side to his comedy which does force Americans to confront the worst in themselves. But self-evaluation can be achieved by more constructive means than mere debunking, and the movie is much more likely to pander to some college students' desire to watch a morally noxious film (while feeling superior to the mostly middle-class dupes that are Cohen's targets) than it is to turn them into the kind of reflective citizens who would want to repair this damaged world. At its worst, Borat desensitizes people to the very behaviors that need to be challenged (racism and religious bigotry, for example).
I think the article makes a good point, but I disagree with the last sentence; if someone is already inherently racist or bigoted, they're already desensitized, not to racism itself, but rather society's condemnation of it.
If you're a battery, you're either working or you're dead....