BORAT: SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM
(director/writer: Jason Woliner; screenwriters: Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Peter Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Mazer, Jena Friedman, Lee Kern; cinematographer: Luke Geissbuhler; editors: James Thomas, Craig Alpert, Mike Giambra; music: Erran Baron Cohen; cast: Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat), Maria Bakalova (Tutar Sagdiyev), Dani Popescu (Premier Nazarbayevdx of Kazakhstan), Rudolph Giuliani (self); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Sacha Baron Cohen, Monica Levinson, Anthony Hines; Four by Two Films; 2020)
“Your reaction to this politically motivated mockumentary will most likely depend a lot on whether you’re partial to either the blue or red states.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
In 2006 we saw the sharp-edged and goofy satirical humor of Sacha Baron Cohen in a very funny different type of satirical comedy. He played an aspiring journalist from Kazakhstan who came to the United States to film a documentary showing his countrymen the true America. It was mostly praised by critics as a groundbreaking comedy. This is the long awaited sequel. It’s not as funny and it’s still staged with plenty of set-up bits to fool its celebrity foils. But it has lost the stings the original had. It pokes fun at the U.S. for its current demented political situation and the Trump administration for being corrupt and inept, and for the unhinged Trump being such a hostile and divisive madman buffoon. The jokes are predictable and mostly superficial. Only a few jabs of the many thrown connect and have some laughs in them. When it comes to spreading “fake news,” Sacha Baron Cohen might only be topped by the former reality show host and now impeached President Trump.
The sequel director, Jason Woliner, who made his name in TV, and his seven credited co-writers, bring back Sacha as the bigoted and hateful Borat, who is released from a labor camp as a political prisoner after imprisoned for making his country look bad. He comes again to America after visiting his hometown village, but this time with his 15-year-old daughter, Tutar Sagdiyev (Maria Bakalova), someone he didn’t know existed until his return to his village. Borat’s release stipulates that he must redeem himself by giving a sex monkey to Vice President Mike Pence (Borat attends a Pence rally in a Klan robe). He also must bribe officials of the corrupt Trump administration, as he tries to make them include his Kazakhstan as one of the dictatorships Trump admires for being fascist and racist like him. If he fails in this mission, he’s threatened with death by his country’s fascist leader (Dani Popescu).
Borat goes undercover in costumes and disguises, as he meets a collection of American imbeciles, nuts, racists, conspiracy theorists, uptight Republicans, haters, freaks, QAnon followers and fascists. While the film settles for lowbrow and strained humor, hitting soft targets and trying to rip into an impervious target like Trump, who can’t be degraded any further than he already has been by a media that despises him. The film settles for lashing out at stereotypes and power-hungry creeps, going after anti-Semites (Holocaust deniers), women suppressors and misogynists. It’s highlight climax scene has NYC’s former disgraced Mayor Giuliani, a snake-like Trump supporter, in an embarrassing sting set up by Borat’s daughter pretending to be a conservative reporter, whereby we see Rudy putting a hand down his pants while eyeballing her. The slimy liar is searching for dirt to help Trump in his campaign for a second term.
The jokes, improvisations, gags and staged or semi-staged stunts never stop. If you don’t like one, another shocker soon follows. It’s a film that will be spoiled by telling too much. Therefore I’ll stop here. Your reaction to this politically motivated mockumentary will most likely depend a lot on whether you’re partial to either the blue or red states.
REVIEWED ON 10/25//2020 GRADE: B