‘Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm’ Movie Review: Sacha Baron Cohen Borats Harder
In 2008, Sacha Baron Cohen retired the character of Borat because he’d become too well known to catch people off guard anymore. It only took 12 years for Cohen to be able to play Borat again. Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm may not be as groundbreaking as the first Borat movie, but it is a fun way to adapt the persona to a new generation.
Sacha Baron Cohen IS Borat again
Often when actors make sequels long after the original, they forget who their characters even were. That was a big problem with Dumb and Dumber To, coming 20 years after the original. Cohen has not forgotten who Borat is. He’s got the same racist, sexist, anti-Semitic views with that lovable tinge of innocent ignorance.
Unfortunately, Borat’s producer Azamat (Ken Davitian) isn’t in the sequel. Whatever reason Davitian didn’t return, Borat has a new partner (Maria Bakalova) for a different, funny dynamic. They travel to the US&A hoping to meet the current administration’s key players.
A meta sequel
It turns out Cohen was right about people recognizing Borat. Many still do so he turns that into a bit and has to go in further disguise for some of his real-world pranks. To have Cohen playing Borat playing another character is a meta twist on his usual reaction comedy schtick.
Cohen and Bakalova do fictional bits by themselves to give backstory to improv bits they do on unsuspecting real people. A dance scene could be this movie’s naked fight.
Bakalova is great. Her character is in some ways a female Borat, doing the catch phrases like “sexy time.” She is as relentless as Cohen staying in character no matter how far the real people go. She becomes fascinating when doing the real bits with real people because she engenders more sympathy. People want to protect her, where Borat makes people defensive and hostile.
Bakalova can also do bits Cohen never could. She’s sort of like a Trojan horse. They would never let Borat in and they’d expect him to make trouble, but this new girl seems innocent.
Cohen, the writers and director built the spine of their story around the Republican events they could invade in the last year. Their shoot coincides with the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. There’s one sequence involving self-isolation and another with someone wearing a mask but that’s it. It’s not the COVID-19 edition of Borat.
Throughout Subsequent Moviefilm Borat doesn’t seem to expose as much racism and anti-Semitism. It feels like more people correct him than agree with him. It does conclude with a rather big expose on a rather famous, powerful person though. And, Cohen getting hit in the nuts is still funny.
Cohen’s Who Is America probably did more damage to the establishment than Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm will. We’ll see if this movie gets anybody fired, but nobody exposes themselves except Cohen. Anyway, the way Cohen is trying to get people fired now is to encourage them to vote, which is the ultimate message of the sequel.
Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm is a fun reunion with a beloved character. The bits are more hit and miss and your mileage may vary, but that’s always the case and it’s good entertainment.
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