I confess I’m not always the biggest fan of comedy and gimmicky characters such as Borat don’t exactly entice me to watch a movie. Still with 2020 being a little bit dark then perhaps the itinerant report from Kazakhstan play by Sascha Baron Cohen might be work a look. The result is a mildly funny and surprisingly sweet film whose agenda might be its downfall.
The premise for a Borat film might not exactly be all that important but there is one. Borat having now brought his native Kazikstan into disrepute is forced stateside to present the number a gift monkey to vice president, Mike Pence. When the monkey dies he must offer his 15 year old daughter instead.
What you get from Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is what you expect. A lot of set up interviews which look to embarrass or make the interviewee feel awkward. They are all tied together by a lose story and all feel like a stunt. Some work, others don’t. Most people have heard of the Rudi Gulliani hotel pants incident and that’s a great example of what does work. The moving in with some white pride guys during the pandemic results in a surprisingly catchy and completely racist sing along at a parade.
But sometimes the stunt doesn’t pay off with laughs and sometimes feels mean. There are numerous attempts to shock everyday people and I am not sure that this entirely works. People at a catilian type ball seem less offended and more bored. An influencer who is offering tips on how to land an old rich husband is sad rather than anything worth targeting. It’s something that is probably inherently wrong with Cohen’s overall sense of humour, it’s a fine line between bully and court jester. You also get the impression that Cohen’s political agenda is a bit too heavy-handed. I largely agree with his politics so it shamed it wasn’t as well integrated into the movie.
What does shine through though is that there are just good people out there who actually care. Some Jewish women in a synagogue (who apparently knew it was a joke) often patience and a kind word. A baby sitter for Borat’s daughter reinforces self-esteem rather than the need for plastic surgery. Good people who somehow shine beyond the joke.
The other side is of course the crude and misogynistic stique that was played in previous films. It produces the occasional amusing moment but this is largely with diminishing returns.
What got me was the surprisingly sweet father and daughter story that transpires across the movie. This is helped by the performance of Maria Bakalova who manages to be a largely sympathetic presence in the movie. Borat’s journey towards being an actual father plays off nicely here and gives the movie a hint of substance.
- Year: 2020
- Where to Watch: Amazon Prime
- IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt13143964/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm Review Cheat Sheet
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is a mildy amusing, at times sweet and at times cruel follow up to the beloved Sasha Baron Cohen film. It seems more political this time and when it having fun at the expense of bad people, it works well enough. Not a must see but not to necessarily be avoided.