January 17, 2021 – Another merciless satire of American politics from Sacha Baron Cohen arrived just before American politics got really crazy. While it's attempts at humor are hit and miss, parts of it are just hilarious.
Parts of Borat 2 (the first Borat movie was released in 2006) are also chilling, because we now know the deadly consequences of the poisonous extreme right wing beliefs depicted in this film. I did not see this film (released on October 23 of last year) until last night, so my perception of it is colored by the tragic events in Washington D.C. on January 6.
The most famous part of this film is the scene where a hidden camera catches Donald Trump's lawyer, and former New York Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, with his pants down, figuratively at least. Giuliani's explanation for why he had his hand in his pants seems lame after I watched this movie.
This sequel (AKA “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”) finds Borat Sagdiyev (Cohen) laboring in a Kazakhstani gulag, disgraced because of the negative impact the first Borat film had on his nation. He is summoned before the leader unexpectedly and given a new assignment to deliver a bribe to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, which involves a performing monkey.
Borat arrives in the U.S. and discovers to his horror that his 15-year-old daughter, Tutar Sagdiyev (played by Maria Bakalova of “The Father”) has stowed away in the shipping crate, and that she ate the monkey. Yeah, that's the level of humor in much of this film. It is an acquired taste, I guess.
Borat goes to plan B. He decides to alter the bribe by offering his daughter as a sex slave to Mike Pence. The plan includes a cage for Tutar, a makeover, breast implants, debutant lessons, a fertility dance and other madcap adventures.
Along the way, Borat and Tutar learn the basics of feminism and both of them change their minds about the whole plan. Then, there is a major twist at the end of the film involving the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, and how actor Tom Hanks was infected.
To me, the funniest scene in the movie involves an encounter at an anti-abortion clinic involving a misunderstanding about something that Tutar accidentally swallowed. It is really hilarious. Then there's the scene with Borat performing a mock anti-Obama song at a pro-Trump rally. Borat gets the crowd to sing along with the chorus, which advocates deadly violence. It is a brilliant bit of satire, but also very scary, especially in light of what happened on January 6.
Since this film is a mockumentary, I couldn't really tell how often some of the subjects of this film were in on the joke, and how often the joke was on them. It doesn't really matter though, since many of the people in the film, like the people in the crowd at the pro-Trump rally, are believable, and are behaving just as people do in real life.
Over all, I did find myself laughing a lot at this film, and that is worth a lot in these trying times. Maria Bakalova gives a marvelous performance in this film, and Cohen is fearless in his performance as the doltish, outrageous Borat.
In his way, Borat is a character similar to the “well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot” portrayed for nine years by Stephen Colbert on his Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report, which ended in 2014. By pretending to be a bigoted ill-informed idiot, Cohen puts his Borat character in a position to expose the ill-informed bigots among us. This film rates a B.
Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff (no extra charges apply). I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.