Tuesday Review – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)

films, review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

You’ll no doubt have heard a lot about the second Borat film in the last few days. Mostly because of the outrage about a scene involving Rudy Giuliani and President Donald Trump’s reaction to it. The President has criticised Sacha Baron Cohen and described him as a “creep”. Of course, this will have done nothing but draw even more attention to the film. Not that it would have needed the help. It’s been nearly 15 years since the first film came out and we were all under the impression that Borat was never going to be seen again. After all, how do you make another Borat film when everyone is in on the joke now? Well, they obviously got round that somehow and, with the film being released on Amazon Prime last week, I had to check it out.

So how do you prank the people of America now that Borat is a world icon? Well, you put him lots of disguises for one thing. Though there are moments when Sacha Baron Cohen dons the familiar grey suit and moustache that we’re all so familiar with, he spends most of the film dressed in different costumes. He also leaves a lot of the actually face-to-face elements to his daughter, Tutar. This allows the pair to infiltrate plenty of places that the well-known character would definitely not have made it into. In fact, as w have seen, Tutar was able to get worryingly close to the President himself. Just goes to show how shitty security is these days.

The first film took delight in exposing the bigotry of modern day America and the second film does much of the same. It pushes the joke to the brink and watches as people take the bait. There’s the shop assistant who helps the reporter pick out tools for “murdering gypsies” and the cake shop owner who happily ices “Jews Will Not Replace Us” and a load of smiley faces on one of her products. As you would expect, it will mostly go for the cheapest possible laugh but, for the most part, it still manages to bring some joy.

Baron Cohen has become much more politically minded in recent years and there is a sense that the film tries to take a more mature approach. I’m not sure it does exactly what it set out to do with regards to the Trump administration but there are some fun moments. It’s just a shame that the film was rushed through so it could be released before the election. As it stands, I doubt this is going to make anybody think twice about voting Republican. The final product is just a little bit messier and chaotic than the first film. Of course, when I say that I mean unintentionally messy and chaotic.

I know that Borat, as a character, is meant to push the lines of good taste but, for me, there was one moment in this that did cross the line. At one point, Borat chats with two Jewish women. One of them was a Holocaust survivor. As we know from the first film, Borat doesn’t think very highly of Jewish people and spouts his usual anti-Semitic nonsense. It’s a moment that feels a bit too much and is incredibly uncomfortable. Baron Cohen has since stated that he broke character to explain to her what was going on but it still didn’t sit well.

It’s an enjoyable and funny film but it can’t match up to the first one. It’s either stuff that we’ve seen plenty of times before or it’s obvious filler about how Borat doesn’t know what a phone is. The pace is a little all over the place and you can sense the desperate need to fill the necessary runtime. That’s not to say that it isn’t worth a watch. Baron Cohen is a smart and funny man. He has absolutely no fear and it’s just amazing to watch him enter these situations. Also major props to Bulgarian actor Maria Bakalova who plays his daughter. She has great comic timing and her improve skills hold up against the veteran. It might not quite live up to the previous film but Borat Subsequent Moviefilm might be just the thing that we need in 2020.

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