Crude, sexist and “inadvertently” making fun of people, Borat is back! This time on a quest by his government to travel to the United States and bring a monkey (and subsequently, his daughter) to Mike Pence as a gift…you heard me. OK, this was either going to work or it wasn’t. And to Sacha Baron Cohen’s credit, it works “very nice”-ly.
Of course, this sequel will be compared to the previous movie, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakstan”. And while it may not resonate as a fresh idea, this is an anti-Trump, anti-Trump supporter, anti-Qanon sequel, which is a perfect example of the right place at the right time. Coming out just weeks before the election, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” (at this point in time) is the better of the two films.
Nearly every hidden camera prank is well choreographed and executed. At the very least, it’s fascinating to witness what Cohen (who plays the Borat character) gets unsuspecting Americans to go along with. For example: Borat gets a feed shop owner to sell him a cage for his daughter to live in, he goes to a debutante ball and asks how much his daughter would be worth and gets a response, and yeah, there is that now infamous Rudy Giuliani “shirt tucking” scene.
As we should all understand by now, the point of this is to again put the Borat character into ridiculous and borderline illegal situations and see if ignorant Americans play along; and also, to showcase the worst that American capitalist/misogynist society has to offer.
Cohen’s previous satirical films (The Dictator, Bruno and “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan) were directed by acclaimed comedic director Larry Charles. In my opinion, director Jason Woliner does a fine job of maintaining Cohen’s Andy Kaufman-esque vision. The “How did he pull this off?” reaction is still definitely there, you’ll still be surprised at how much he gets away with, and the shock value of it all is still entertaining and quite impressive.
While nearly every bit hits its mark, the addition of the Borat’s daughter storyline (played by Maria Bakalova) may bring the only real lulls in the film. Not to say that her storyline doesn’t work. The estranged daughter character actually is the glue that holds this thing together. Also, pushing this character to the forefront of many of the comedy bits, allows the Borat character to sneak around the background unrecognized. That said, in the final act things do slowdown in order to focus on the scripted material. During these moments my mind did wonder a tad, as I awaited the next prank.
Final Thought: Cohen’s political satire television series “Who is America?” is better than this movie, mostly because the humor is streamlined, as there is no story to maintain. But “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” still displays what Cohen does best. Is the humor mean-spirited? Sure. But most of the people he makes fun of are Trump supporters, so it’s OK.
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