Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm

At the Movies Blog

Maria Bakalova and Sacha Baron Cohen plot to meet Mike Pence.

The full title of this movie is Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime For Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakastan. Yet since that wouldn’t fit on a movie marquee (well, if movie theatres were open), or on most website pages for a title, everyone has shortened it. Oh, and the “bribe” in the title soon turns into “bride” after a teenage girl was stowed away in a crate and ate the monkey that was inside it.

The title is one of a handful of funny things about the movie. 

We all loved the first Borat film. It’s now 14 years since that movie, and Sacha Baron Cohen is back to his pranking ways. One of the best decisions he made was getting actress Maria Bakalova to play his 15-year-old daughter (she’s 24 in real life). She steals the show.

One of the disappointing things about this movie is that it felt like there was a lot more staged shtick. When he goes into a FedEx store to send a telegram, and a hick is reading the crazy messages…or he goes into a computer store to get a phone and a good looking young man is trying to act normal while Borat is downloading porn — you realize these are probably just actors in on the joke. And that takes away a lot of the fun. Although when Borat goes into a synagogue and talks to two Jewish ladies in their 90s (yes, he pokes a lot of fun at the Jews again)…he’s wearing a big fake nose and holding a bag of money. The women couldn’t have been sweeter, and one of them (a Holocaust survivor) passed away shortly after the film was made (her family is suing the filmmakers). I thought those two women were in on the joke, and it turns out Borat broke character to explain the bit to them (that wasn’t shown in the film). 

What happens at the end…is going to create a lot of controversy (and possibly a lawsuit). We’ll get to that later.

There’s a segment where Borat goes to Mike Pence’s speech at the conservative convention CPAC wearing a disguise to look like Trump. He’s carrying his teenage daughter over his shoulder to present to Pence. Of course, the Secret Service doesn’t let him anywhere near the VP. And it was my wife who had to point out to my dumb a** that, they probably edited the video to make it look as if Pence was actually listening to the things Borat was screaming out.

One bit that made me cringe, and wasn’t the least bit funny — was when the teenage girl begs for a cupcake. He buys her one that has a plastic baby on the top, which she accidentally swallows. They go to a Christian anti-abortion center and in his broken English, Borat says how they have to “get the baby out of her” and other things that make it sound like he impregnated his daughter while a man of the cloth tries to talk them out of what he thinks is an abortion.

Another time Borat dresses as a Ku Klux Klan member. In one scene which we saw when it made the news months ago — Borat is dressed up as a country singer and singing an anti-Covid song on stage.

Some of the lyrics of the song were funny. And it’s hard not to crack a smile every time Borat says “McDonald Trump.” You just kept wishing there were more laughs. 

They once again visit a southern etiquette class conducted by a woman who tries to teach the girl how to act with decorum. When they attended a debutante ball in Mason, Georgia — it was all rather funny.

It was also somewhat amusing, when she talks to a popular influencer who is teaching her how to get a sugar daddy.

There’s a bit of amusement seeing the girl watch an animated, Cinderella-style fairytale, that featured Trump and Melania. When you’re going to make fun of Trump, I’ve always said you have to actually write jokes (as they did with this fake cartoon), instead of doing what all the late night shows do — merely ranting in their monologue, with no actual jokes. 

More often than not, I was just scratching my head at what the filmmakers thought would be funny (there were seven people involved in writing this film). For example, a scene with a Republican women’s group meeting, and the teenage girl talking about what sexual thing she just did in the bathroom. Perhaps if you’re 15, that will tickle your funny bone. One could also take issue with why Cohen never seems to go after Democrats (at least he didn’t in his series “Who is America?”).

I give the writers credit for…after realizing Borat is now recognized on the streets, and being chased down and asked for autographs…they started dressing him up. That gave the opportunity to riff on dumb redneck characters (which made the accent even funnier).

Another reason some of the bits in this weren’t funny is because of how the business owners have to act for customers. For example, when he goes into a bakery and wants a chocolate cake with the phrase “Jews won’t replace us” written on it, the sweet older lady gladly does it. But perhaps she’s thinking about other bakeries that have been sued when they wouldn’t make a wedding cake for a gay couple, or one that wouldn’t put the name Adolf Hitler on a boy’s birthday cake (that was the kid’s name; great parents, huh?). So if people are so willing to please the customer, it doesn’t shock us, as the viewers. Yet, if they write funny things to go with it, like Borat going to a dress shop to prepare his daughter for a ball, and asking the owner “Can we get a dress from the ‘no means yes’ section?” you laugh, and then are ashamed of yourself for laughing.

The terrific score is done by Erran Baron Cohen, Sacha’s brother.

And again, I can’t stress enough how great Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova was in this (as Sandra Jessica Parker Sagdiyev). What she does in a hotel room with Rudy Giuliani, had my wife and I go back a few different times to see if what we saw, was what we thought we saw. She was insisting there must be a look-alike, but nope. It was Giuliani, flirting with the young reporter (who kept gushing over him), and going into a hotel bedroom with her and laying down on a bed, with his hand down his pants. There was talk Giuliani would sue over this (the first Borat movie resulted in lawsuits). He also claimed that he was merely tucking in his shirt (not sure why he had to lay down on the bed to do that). It’s truly the most baffling scene you’ll see in a movie all year. It’s just a shame the rest of movie didn’t give us more laughs.

2 stars out of 5.

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