Thursday, October 22, 2020

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

It's been 14 years since Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan was a success in the United States. Unfortunately for the Kazakh television journalist Borat Sagdiyev (Sacha Baron Cohen), the movie did not do so well at home leading to trouble for the would-be documentarian who was imprisoned for bringing shame on his country. As the sequel opens, Borat is given a second chance to redeem his honor, and that of his country, by presenting a gift to Vice Premier, er... Vice President, Mike Pence.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is very similar to Borat in setting Sacha Baron Cohen loose in public and letting the cameras roll. Because of the recognizability of the character at this point, there's even a Halloween costume of him, Borat is forced to disguise himself over the course of the film whose primary target this time around is the Christian Right, Trump supporters, and the Republican Party who, as Cohen proves, don't need much help to look foolish on film. Maria Bakalova co-stars as Borat's daughter whose relationship with her father provides the emotional undercurrent of the film.

The sequel doesn't break new ground, and given its subject matter, it is firmly rooted in 2020, makes me wonder how well it will age. As with the first film, Cohen's outrageous behavior is designed to elicit a response. I'll give Cohen credit for not pushing scenes as hard this time around when they didn't create the expected result. That doesn't mean the comedian doesn't go for broke in a series of escapades that may make you laugh, groan, or shake your head (often all three at the same time). Not all the stunts work, but enough of them do to make you want to keep watching to see where the film's journey will eventually end.

Feeling a bit more scripted to frame what he hopes to capture on film, this time around Trump's supporters get the brunt of Cohen's wrath as he records (and at times instigates) some awful behavior. The comedian's schtick still works nearly 15 years later, even if his approach seems cruel (seriously, how hard is to make Trump supporters look stupid?) he does succeed in bringing light to an ugly side of America through a series of crazy, ridiculous, and sometimes downright bizarre situations. There are some notable appearances throughout the film, which I won't ruin here, but it's the scenes with average Americans which continually yield the most satisfying results.

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