Best movie title ever …
You know, I’d never have believed he could pull this off a second time: the Borat character must be so well known you’d think Sacha Baron Cohen would be recognised everywhere, no matter what disguise he put on.
Anyway, assuming that the whole film isn’t a massive put-up job (and I still have my suspicions about some of the people he talks to, and the setups in general), then he not only got away with it, he’s come up with a better, more human, more sphincter-clenchingly uncomfortable film than the original.
In this ninety-odd minute documentary/drama/comedy/seriously I’m not sure what it is, our intrepid journalist finds himself released after fourteen years in a Kazakhstan prison, and offered the chance to redeem himself after embarrassing his entire nation in the first movie. He’s given one simple job: deliver a bribe to the Mayor of America so his country’s standing in the eyes of world will be restored (I have no idea what the real country of Kazakhstan makes of all this …)
The plan goes to shit early on, when Borat finds the chimpanzee that he’s supposed to deliver to Donald Trump has been eaten in transit by a stowaway – his fifteen-year-old daughter, Tutar (played magnificently by newcomer Maria Bakalova). Not a problem for Borat: he’ll give the Mayor his daughter instead.
(Possible spoilers after the jump)
What follows is a tour of Trump’s United States, and I’m afraid it often doesn’t show it’s best side. We have an evangelic preacher who’s response to being fooled into thinking that Borat has gotten his fifteen-year-old daughter pregnant is to … well, you really have to see it to believe it. We have a young woman giving tips on becoming a ‘sugar baby’, and a plastic surgeon willing to ‘enhance’ a young girl so she’ll be able to land a rich old man. There’s some very sad, very worrying indictment of today’s America threaded throughout the whole movie, the least frightening of which is how they’re happy to write anti-semitic messages on chocolate cake. Yes, that happened, and that’s the genius of Baron Cohen: the blending of horror and comedy.
And just when you think that there’s no hope, he introduces a few shining lights: the black woman who tries to tell Tutar that she won’t be eaten by her own vagina if she attempts to masturbate (you’d have to see it – I mean the scene, you’d have to see the scene!), and the two white conspiracy nut-jobs who, despite being borderline racists, went to extraordinary lengths to help Borat find his missing daughter. (I’m pretty sure these three were actors, but they were pretty convincing).
Now what about that scene with Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani? Yup, that didn’t look good. While I’m happy to accept that he didn’t know she was supposed to be fifteen (Bakalova was posing as a journalist after all), he did follow her into the bedroom like a dog on heat, and he did ask for her address, and he was fishing around in his trousers … As I said, it doesn’t look good; not illegal, but not good. Still, it was probably one of the most risky pranks I’ve ever seen; Bakalova must have nerves of steel.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is a comedy triumph in my opinion. The story just about held together, the set-ups were amazing and the participants were … strange. In a way, it made me sad for the state of the world, America in particular, but managed to pack in enough comedy so that it didn’t come across as a massive hate ‘murca fest. Above all, I think it showed that people are often more than one thing.