One of the biggest pitfalls that some critics run into is separating their personal feelings about a particular release. Often critics will walk into a screening with some pretty solid feelings about a specific film even before the first scene starts. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that as it’s human nature, but it can slant someone in a particular direction while evaluating projects. Such is the case with Borat Subsequent Movie Film, which debuts on Amazon Prime this Friday.
Most raved about the outrageous nature of the first film and the edginess of the material. Sascha Baron Cohen put all of his eggs into that basket and scored big at the box-office with a movie that had universal appeal. What was unique about his feat is everyone knew this would overexpose Cohen’s Borat character, and he still did it. Part of Cohen’s comedy comes from people assuming that his character is an actual person from Kazakhstan. Now that everyone knew the truth, there was no way he could ever play him again. Little did we know that fourteen years later, he’d bring back our favorite foreign reporter. Was it necessary, though?
Speaking personally, of course, it’s because – who doesn’t love Borat? However, looking at this objectively, it’s hard to make a strong case that this film ever needed to see the light of day. How many more ways can we joke about Borat being idiotic? It seems that for the sequel, Cohen’s focus is on our political climate. The narrative is essentially Borat getting one last chance to atone for the great shame he brought Kazakhstan so many years ago by establishing relations between his home and the United States of America. They intend to do this by offering a gift to someone in the President’s inner circle. While Amazon Prime wants us to keep most of the plot under wraps, it’s easy to surmise based on the trailer, which VP is the target of Borat’s affections. Through the course of certain events, his daughter, Tutar, ends up on this diplomatic mission.
Through the course of his journey, Borat experiences a cross-section of America. He attempts to communicate with home by using a fax-machine at a local copy store. Of course, the messages come fast and furious and become more graphic with each passing moment. It’s hard to unsee Tutar and Kazakhstan’s number four reporter crashing CPAC in the most apparent disguise one could pick for such an event. Most will be focusing on a scene towards the film involving America’s Mayor that will cause quite an uproar. Let’s just say that Mr. Giuliani has some explaining to do.
The best way to describe Borat Subsequent Film is it feels like a bunch of individual sketches loosely tied together by an original premise. The film is entertaining, but that’s what you’d expect from Cohen. However, the film can’t escape from its lack of originality. While I’m aware that our focus in the sequel is on alleged conservatives, there isn’t one moment when Borat is lampooning any number of these racist or closed-minded individuals where someone will be blown away by what they are seeing. Perhaps that’s a result of what’s unfolded in this country over the last four years. If anything, the hyper-focus on shining a light on these individuals makes the movie feel like a political hit piece. That wasn’t the intent of Cohen and his team, but that’s how the film comes across.
What should have happened was a film developed around Borat’s daughter, Tutar, because those interactions are by far the best part of Borat Subsequent Film. Seeing those moments where those two are playing off one another while attempting to purchase a cage for Tutar from a feed store was incredible. Those original moments made the first Borat film so memorable, and the lack of them, which made the sequel just fine.
Borat Subsequent Movie Film lands on Amazon Prime this Friday, October 23.