Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Blissfully Crossing Over the Line, and Thank You for That

[Originally seen October 24, 2020]

Sacha Baron Cohen is a clever, clever dude. For four years now everyone with a fully functioning mind and who could see past the gauze and the glitter has been wanting to see someone — anyone — lampoon 45 without seeing their career threatened (cue Kathy Griffin during a chunk of 2017). His current movie, available on Prime, is a comedy so sharp it might as well arrived with Ginza knives and tackled an entire populace raised in blissful ignorance, white privilege, and the belief that anything slightly different than white would be considered the enemy in exclamation points. His timely release somehow serves as a poetic bookend to the damning move made by former FBI Director James Comey days before the election in 2016 which plunged the nation into four years where it seemed that anarchy was the norm, wrong was right, and anything resembling progress on all grounds was now headless and placed in a freezer ’til further notice, the later the better so the country could be run ragged to its knees.

Borat returns, this time with a proposal to make to the American government in exchange for not seeing himself killed in a rather unsavory way back in Kazakhstan. With his daughter Tutar (Maria Bakalova) in tow, both set out to meet the VP (and potentially, the Man himself), but in the interim, Tutar must undergo a radical transformation to render her palatable for the right-wing nutjobs she is set to enchant. This sets up for a series of comic set pieces that have to be seen to be believed, each one stronger than the other until Tutar becomes from being a simple punchline to her own voice. I really don’t want to spoil the movie for you although the trailer does manage to hint at one special meeting which has given a certain politician publicity he would not have wanted if his life depended on it.

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Come to think of it, I stand corrected. This movie will only grow in stature. If Chaplin’s has become the cry against tyranny told with grace and scathing humor, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is in fantastic company. [B+]

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