The world’s favourite and perhaps most politically incorrect journalist and TV personality is back after a 14-year absence and he’s just as much a fish out a water as he was in 2006. In the film, BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM: DELIVERY OF PRODIGIOUS BRIBE TO AMERICAN REGIME FOR MAKE BENEFIT ONCE GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN, Borat Sagdiyev (Sacha Baron Cohen) returns to America, this time accompanied by his 15-year-old daughter, Tutar (played by 24-year-old Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova). Perhaps “accompanied” is not quite the right word here as Tutar stowed away in a wooden crate along with a monkey that was intended to be that aforementioned prodigious bribe. Once on American soil, Borat quickly discovers that Americans remember his last visit to the US and he is forced to don a series of disguises to fool people into thinking he’s just another guy with a strange accent. Amazingly, it works, and together with Tutar, the intrepid reporter heads to America’s heartland with the goal of attending a speech given by US Vice President Mike Pence where he can personally offer Tutar to the man. (What would Mother say?) Along the way, in true Borat fashion, the pair meets with a number of right-wing conservatives where they naively poke their Kazakh fingers in these people’s eyes, skewering their racist, sexist, misogynistic and anti-Semitic views and conspiracy theories.
Like the original BORAT film, BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM is going to have its fans and its critics and, as it was 14 years ago, the critics are probably all avid supporters of the current American president and all the things he and his administration stand for. What has changed though is that for the past four-plus years we’ve been fed a daily diet of racist and sexist tweets and press conferences, and watched as America tore itself apart. Honestly, it’s not so surprising this time around to see supposedly fine people at their ugliest. Even Rudy Giuliani’s now famous scene with Tutar, whom he thinks is a right-wing reporter, doesn’t raise our eyebrows. Sure, he could have just been tucking in his shirt while lying on her hotel room bed but what does it say about his ethics when he readily goes into her bedroom with a drink in hand?
While the original BORAT had a coherent story to it, BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM is really just a series of pranks tied together with a bare wisp of a storyline. Granted, some of the pranks are classic Sacha Baron Cohen over-the-top antics that will have viewers alternating between cringing in horror one moment to laughing at their sheer absurdity the next. Once again, Borat leads a crowd in a blatantly anti-Semitic and racist song, which no one seems to find offensive but us… hopefully. At least on this American tour, Borat actually learns something correct about Jews in a warm scene with a Holocaust survivor. The survivor, Judith Dim Evans, passed away earlier this year and her daughter sued Amazon, the film’s producer, claiming that Mrs. Evans had been duped into sitting for an interview with Cohen. Just yesterday, a Georgia judge rejected the lawsuit and the daughter withdrew her claim. I doubt the daughter even saw the scene that her mother was in because, if she had, she would have known that her mother came off extremely well.
BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video. All in all, I was entertained but perhaps I’m biased because I brought the original Borat film to Hong Kong. (You can read about it here.) Whether you’ll find the film “very nice” or just a bunch of hooey from another left-wing Hollywood elite will depend on your political bent and on how much of a Sacha Baron Cohen fan you are.
Watch the review recorded on Facebook Live on Friday, October 30th, 8:30 am HK time!
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