The main thing is; it’s funny and it confirms that contemporary American society is absurd. The plot doesn’t really matter. The hammed attempts of tear-jerking moments don’t really matter. What matters is that Borat has returned and is still wearing that oversized blue suit.
Since its release in 2006, Sacha Baron Cohen’s mockumentary-style film Borat dissolved quickly into the fabric of British and American pop culture and became immortalised as one of the most interesting comedy films of recent memory. Fourteen years later, Borat is still outrageous, disarming, eye-opening and unafraid of male genitalia.
At first, I was wary of the introduction of a new character; Borat’s daughter Tutar, as it meant I couldn’t see another nude wrestle between Borat and his producer Azamat Bagatov. Tutar is necessary, however, as she becomes the instrument through which America’s deep-rooted misogyny is explored and satirised. For, without Tutar, there would be no “sexy gift” for Mike Pence, the ‘Vice Premier Pussy Grabber’.
Borat is unashamedly rooted in the political. Issues of antisemitism, American individualism and the absurdity of political figures are still explored, much the same as they were in the first film. Nearly every gag bites: a plastic surgeon openly comments upon the ‘imperfections’ of the Jewish nose, a tanning specialist endorses a shade which would best please a racist family, a dress shop owner laughs at Borat’s assertion that his daughter needs a ‘No means Yes’ dress. While making us laugh like the first, the second also makes us slightly scared.
But, nothing is perfect. With Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm, you seem to wait longer for a punchline and even then, you’re waiting for a better one. Because of his fame, Borat is forced to dress up as other characters- which mainly involve a fat suit and a beard. With this, the charm of Cohen’s character is somewhat lost. More generally, the second film was made and exists in an entirely different world than before. The ‘shocking’ statements made by some of Borat’s victim lose some impact as they’re only half as bad as what society’s most respected say every day. Also, for some reason, I hate the fact they’ve released a Snapchat filter alongside.
It’s time to face the harsh we reality: the return of Borat was somehow needed and urgent. The excitement surrounding the new release surely can’t just be out of love of comedy films? Perhaps we all need a bright light shone on the everyday bigotry so prevalent of recent years.
Yes, the film does slightly feel like the equivalent to Comic Relief one-off reboots of sitcoms due to its hyper-focus on 2020, but it is still worth a watch. I’m just happy it’s not as bad as Grimsby.
Image Credit: Plugged In