It’s been 14 years since Sacha Baron Cohen unleashed Borat onto the big screen and it took a dysfunctional and inept president to prompt the sequel 2020 so richly deserved with Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.
Trashing Trump is almost too easy at this point as evident by the late night talk show hosts routinely going for the low hanging fruit. Baron Cohen doesn’t mind pulling out his ladder to viciously skewer the current administration in amazing fashion.
Trump pulling Borat out of retirement might be the only good thing he’s accomplished over the last four years. Borat’s first film back in 2006 had its moments although it was accompanied by an equal amount of silliness that didn’t work.
Targeting the Trump administration gives Baron Cohen a sharper focus as he slyly rips the former casino owner’s handling of race relations, his allies’ knack for landing in prison and the inept response to the coronavirus pandemic. Subsequent Moviefilm benefits from the sharper focus and plot beyond Baron Cohen making a fool of his innocent and ignorant subjects through Borat’s pranks.
Since the first film, Borat has been vilified in his native Kazakhstan for making the country a laughingstock. He has a chance at redemption by delivering a gift to the American leader that’s restored dignity and justice to the country – Donald (or as Borat calls him McDonald) Trump. But since he isn’t exactly on Trump’s good side after his last visit to America, Borat has to settle for making the gift presentation to Trump’s second in command Mike Pence, the “vice p-grabber in charge.”
Since Borat was such a breakout pop culture phenomenon — an early gag shows Borat at a costume store observing a bootleg Borat outfit — Baron Cohen couldn’t pull the same trick twice.
To skirt around the ineffectiveness of his unwilling subjects being clued in to his pranks, Baron Cohen plays Borat largely undercover. The costume choices are inspired with two standouts being the totally inconspicuous outfit chosen for Borat to enter a conference Pence is attending and make his presentation.
Borat also gets some help from his stowaway daughter, Tutar (Maria Bakalova). In most cases, adding a child or a teenager to a popular franchise indicates it’s running on fumes but Tutar brings a fun new layer of dysfunction to Borat’s hijinks with his complete ineptness at being a parent.
- Expulsion movie review
- Friendsgiving review
- Marvel Legends Build-A-Figure Sugar Man figure review
- Hot Toys Action Figure Reviews
With the original gift a loss, Borat decides he can offer Tutar up to Pence. Tutar is down for this as she can live in a golden cage like her idol, Melanie. A cartoon masterfully lampoons the idea of Melania having a fairy tale courtship with The Donald.
This fresh dynamic also allows for some unique scenarios such as Borat and Tutar attending a debutante ball and a hilarious scene involving a miscommunication at a women’s clinic. The film loses some steam midway as Tutar asserts her independence — the pairing works better with Borat and Tutar onscreen together — and Borat is in quarantine learning about the Democrats while in quarantine with a pair of impressively ignorant Trump supporters.
This leads to one of the film’s more shocking moments at a rally defending rights to not wear a mask during the pandemic. The Trump supporters throw up Nazi salutes, proudly rock their Confederate flags and sing-a-long to a song with intentionally inflammatory lyrics. Maybe the most astonishing aspect of this scene are the participants who don’t worry about having their faces blurred.
That much discussed compromising scene with “America’s Mayor” Rudy Giuliani doesn’t disappoint and certainly doesn’t put him in the best light.
The final act might bristle viewers who have lost loved ones from the coronavirus and it skirts thisclose from being in bad taste while finding a satisfactory conclusion to the story. Subsequent Moviefilm’s last scene is pretty brilliant with a brutally efficient parting shot at Trump and his supporters’ clueless response to the virus.
Borat’s first film had its highlights, but thanks to the real world insanity this was the ideal time for his comeback and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is a spectacular satire piece and one of 2020’s best comedies by far.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Photo Credit: Amazon Studios