Outrageous, gross, crass, cringeworthy, forced, and bold. It's a hot mess of topical satire.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Director: Jason Woliner (The Last Man on Earth)
Screenplay: Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat), et al.
Cast: Cohen (The Chicago 7), Maria Bakalova (The Father)
Runtime: 1h 35m
By: John DeSando
“I found a new book which only tells the truth. It's called Facebook. I learn so many facts there. Like, our nation's proudest moment, the Holocaust, never happened!” Tutar Sagdiyev (Maria Bakalova)
From the 2006 film the fictional Kazakh TV journalist Borat returns after hard labor to descend upon the Trump administration, especially Pence and Giuliani. It’s cringe comedy that doesn’t always work (at times it’s like a cold SNL opener), but when it does, it will delight the left and leave the right seeking blood (see Tutar’s quote above).
Borat plans to offer as a bribe his 15-year-old daughter, Tutar, to Pence, who he heard is so taken with women he dares not be with one (“I've got great news! Pence is speaking nearby... we'll gift you today!”) More laughable is Borat crashing a CPAC meeting in a KKK costume (“I’m Steven Miller. Sorry I’m late.”).
Most outrageous is Tutar’s real interview with Giuliani, who appears to be a willing sex partner until a Borat in drag bursts on the bedroom. Giuliani was not in on the hoax. (To Tutar after talking up the Chinese virus: “Ok. I will. I’ll eat a bat with you.” “You can give me your phone number and your address.”) Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Borat has similarly outlandish but timely bits although among too many that fall flat. The failures frequently came from being forced satire, awkward in the execution and already too prevalent in our current pop culture (Thanks SNL) to be laughable any more. Besides now that the War on Terror has been upstaged by white nationalism and COVID-19, most auds are too exhausted to laugh, as necessary a remedy as it is.
Cohen is a pre-eminent satirist of our time; even this less than great comedy is still funny and daring.
John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JohnDeSando62@gmail.com