Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm ★★★

Ahh, the mockumentary. A subgenre of comedy that is often either overlooked or used in the most unoriginal way possible. Sacha Baron Cohen has used this method of filmmaking as a way to shove a very large and shiny mirror right into the face of the American public, often showing us at our worst. First with 'Borat', then with 'Bruno, and most recently with the Showtime miniseries 'Who is America?' but can Cohen go back to the well again? With such a beloved character and make lightning strike twice? Well, yes...and no.

The best thing about this one is the emotional story between Cohen's Borat and his daughter played by Maria Bakalova. The pair have excellent comedic chemistry with one another, but beyond that, the two have been given a very sweet story at its core about fathers and daughters that actually made me smile from time to time. And for being a newcomer, Bakalova doesn't miss a comedic beat and goes toe to toe with Cohen, even when it's at its most ugly and cringe. With this of course being a Borat movie, the reveals of the ugliness of our society are the buttercream icing of the whole thing. Where you know it's gonna be sweet, but it also hurts your teeth and makes you reconsider why you ever ate the cake in the first place. Cohen finds ways to get Borat in some pretty crowded areas and sure enough, shows us at our worst. Seeing the progression of our society, from pre-COVID to the start of the pandemic (when Mike Pence said this thing would be handled within weeks -_- ), to the recent rallies we've seen these past few months of some conservatives fully protesting everything from democrats, to the legitimacy of the virus, to everything hateful in between really makes you sigh and want to kill yourself, but also before doing so to thank Cohen for delivering us some really solid political satire once again. I also really enjoyed the ending, it was very sweet and I liked the twist the movie took on how the COVID pandemic started. It was pretty funny and had a really cool cameo near the very end.

My main issue with this one is that I feel they leaned very heavily on scripted situations this time around. To be fair, there's plenty of ones that you can tell are real and authentic, but there's a bunch that feel fake as can be. One recurring one involving an employee who keeps faxing messages for Borat just felt phony. I feel they had to lean more scripted this time around, cause this one follows a more traditional narrative than the first one, but it also creates a sense of phoniness, which is not what you want from Cohen when he's doing this kinda stuff. I also felt that the movie just plainly wasn't as funny as the first one. They're funny moments to be sure, but I rewatched both 'Borat' and 'Bruno' earlier this year and I think this might be the least funny of the three. They definitely traded in some of their laughs for emotional beats. And while I did like the storyline, I can't help but feel cheated that it took some humor along with it.

Overall, Jason Woliner, in his feature directorial debut does a pretty solid job here! Cohen and the cavalcade of writers on this thing have crafted a story that feels like it should be here because it isn't just going back and repeating the same thing again. It's giving us a heartfelt story, wrapped up in 'Borat' craziness with some satire thrown on top as a nice garnish. That being said though, their overreliance on what felt like scripted parts, and an overall lack of laughs compared to the first one do make this one a bit of a letdown for me. That being said, this is far from a bad movie. In fact with flaws and all, I say it's for sure worth a watch, especially if you liked the first one.