The brilliant video put-on artist Sacha Baron Cohen (Da Ali G Show) mounts his first big-screen assault in the guise of Borat Sagdiyev, a Kazakh TV personality who arrives in Manhattan to shoot a documentary on the U.S., falls in love with Pamela Anderson while watching a Baywatch rerun, and sets off for the west coast to fulfill his dream of “making romance explosion on her stomach.” Most of the early laughs come at the expense of the developing world, as the uncouth Borat defecates in a city street planter, treats women like cattle, and cheerily flaunts his anti-Semitism. But as he travels through the Deep South and southwest, staging impromptu encounters with unsuspecting Americans, the first world and the developing world become indistinguishable: told that homosexuals are rounded up and killed in Kazakhstan, a rodeo cowboy blurts out, “That’s what we’re trying to get done here.” As clever as he is crude, Cohen alchemizes bad-taste comedy into Strangelovean satire. R, 89 min. a Century 12 and CineArts 6, Crown Village 18, River East 21, Webster Place.