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Review: 'Borat Subsequent Moviefilm' Sums Up 2020

by Greg Vellante
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Oct 22, 2020
'Borat Subsequent Moviefilm'
'Borat Subsequent Moviefilm'  

In 2006, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" was a surprising success of post-9/11, Bush-era satire that pushed the boundaries of comedy, commentary and hidden camera antics to the next level. Exposing prejudices and idiocies alike of unsuspecting American citizens, "Borat" was an eye-opening look at many of the things that plague our country.

Fourteen years later, you can log onto Facebook in the morning and see your racist uncle post a status that's likely far worse, and we've even added a literal sickness to the mix with COVID-19 still surging through the country. The bigotry and hypocrisy of America are currently so transparent that it seems impossible for a film like "Borat" to come along and succeed once again, using the same tactics. "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm" both proves and disproves this idea.

This surprise sequel, which was still filming as recently as a few months ago, immediately understands that the rules of the game need to be different this time around. Soon into Borat's return to America (which is prompted by a Kazakh government mission to deliver a "sexy monkey" to Vice President Mike Pence in order to get in Trump's good graces), people immediately begin recognizing him, forcing him to wear a variety of disguises to mask his identity. The disguises aren't that impressive, and it's hard not to approach this sequel with a bit of suspicion about its authenticity in certain areas, especially when it comes to the unsuspecting citizens that fall victim to Sacha Baron Cohen's antics.

While many sequences are quite hilarious, there's an underlying element of skepticism in what we're seeing, especially when you consider the camera angles, editing, and overall scene design. So much of this film's "gotcha!" offerings will be far more fascinating to discuss in terms of production details as those details come to the surface.

These complaints aside, "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm" is an almost constant laugh riot that combines cringes, eye-rolls, jaw-dropping "Oh my god" moments, and so much more, resulting in a satire that pales in comparison at times to its predecessor, yet also towers above it in certain regards. Its big, final smoking gun setup involving a certain politician, which is already making major headlines, is something that is at once shocking, and yet not surprising at all, given where we are in this hellscape of a country, and what we've come to expect from those in positions of power.

The film ends on a scene that, while funny, is quite somber, along with a plea to vote just before the credits hit. And when we look back on the calamitous year that is 2020, "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm" will serve as a time capsule that perfectly captures where we are and where we could be going. We won't know until we're actually there and we're reminiscing, and hopefully, we can look back fondly at this film and laugh in ways that don't feel tragic.

"Borat Subsequent Moviefilm" streams on Amazon starting Oct. 23.

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