Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Jason Woliner's Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is a tired sequel that feels forced, despite the relevant topics at bat this time around. Most of the gags are repetitive and one note, while feeling incredibly staged, banking on a shock factor that just isn't there. Credit must still be given to Sacha Baron Cohen for trying to inject his outlandish character into the world we live in, but going back to the same creative well is likely going to yield the same results, only with a lesser level of success.
Sacha Baron Cohen returns to the world of Borat with director Jason Woliner and nearly a dozen writers for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, a sequel that nobody asked for and one that probably shouldn’t have ever been made in the first place. SBC‘s trademark humor is back in full-force, only this time the jokes feel tired, forced and downright depressing as his social commentary is still over-the-top, only this time a painful dose of reality, covering the upcoming presidential election, the recent COVID-19 outbreak and many other “Yankee” tendencies. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is a subpar movie made with the laziest of intentions.
Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen) is back in the land of US of A, only this time with a mission to present his daughter (Maria Bakalova) to Vice President Mike Pence. The goal is to make an alley out of Pence and President Donald Trump in an attempt to reclaim glory for his home country and to re-establish himself as a news reporter. But somewhere along the way, Borat and his daughter start to bond, which unfolds in silly fashion as Borat must now realize that his daughter is a real person and not just another cow or pig that he chains to a fence out back.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is a continuation of the highly-popular and very successful Borat film, which Sacha Baron Cohen brought to us over a decade ago. With Borat, he was able to shock and awe the world with just one of his many colorful characters that poked fun at the American way by peeling back the layers of idiocracy in a way that had you belly laughing one minute, only to look back and say “wait, what?”.
Borat is a film of its time and a movie that Sacha Baron Cohen hasn’t been able to get away from, despite bringing other characters to the big-screen, with films such as Bruno and The Dictator. SBC has never managed to recapture that same energy from Borat, despite trying his hardest to bring new topics to light.
This is Borat Subsequent Moviefilm‘s biggest problem. Instead of coming back with a vengeance and tackling all of our modern issues through a new approach or lens, SBC and company simply retread the waters, introducing a small subplot (Borat’s daughter), only to go back to the same comical ways, this time with less punch and more of a poke.
I can’t put my finger on it, but so much of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm felt forced and tired, with so many of the jokes coming of as barely humorous or just downright depressing as the line of fiction and reality is blurred, which I get is the point for bringing back such a wild character, but this also makes it hard to laugh at something that’s already depressingly true.
On top of this, SBC doesn’t seem nearly as engaged with the material. The bags under his eyes pulsate as he tries yet another stupid gag, only this time everything feels staged and obvious as it’s nearly impossible to run into an American that doesn’t know who Borat is.
This leaves no room for spontaneity or excitement, instead forcing the writers room (there are so many writers credited to this film) to simply push him onto the next gag without any real connective tissue.
The subplot with his daughter is weak and barely an excuse for this movie’s existence. I found Maria Bakalova to be the complete opposite of memorable. I don’t fault the actress as much as I fault the script for giving her absolutely nothing to do or say.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is easily the worst film of Sacha Baron Cohen‘s in a while and that’s coming from the guy that actually saw The Brothers Grimsby.
There’s nothing shocking to see here that you haven’t seen over a decade ago. Sacha Baron Cohen has tried dipping back into the Borat well far past its expiration date and it pains me to say this, but I’m glad Amazon Prime released this as it’s not even worth the price of an evening ticket at the local cinema.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is as one-note as they come. The few jokes that did make me chuckle have already left my mind, just as this film will surely be forgotten and buried underneath the stack of infinitely better SBC films. I hope this is just a speed bump along the road for an otherwise very talented and creative artist.