ESP’s film critic Gavin Miller settles on the sofa for the latest on the small screen…
This sequel to the controversial 2006 Sacha Baron Cohen comedy is a mixture of satirical genius and uncomfortable set-pieces not for the faint of heart – with some of it filmed to the backdrop of the current Coronavirus pandemic.
After being released from prison after fourteen years due to his humiliation of the Kazakhstan nation in the first film, the country’s president pardons Baron Cohen’s fictional television journalist Borat – and gives him a special assignment.
Said mission is to deliver Kazakh Minister of Culture Johnny the Monkey – yep a real-life monkey! – to President Donald Trump via his understudy Mike Pence.
Back at his homestead he discovers that he has a fifteen-year-old daughter Tutar (Maria Bakalova), who then ends up following him to Texas after he discovers her in a shipping crate that was housing the monkey – who is now deceased.
Threatened with execution if he doesn’t find a way to satisfy Pence, Borat decides to offer up his daughter as a gift.
This leads to a whole host of politically incorrect and wildly out of date stereotypical sexist type-casts and social faux pas, that helps evolve into several very awkward sequences that prove to be uncomfortable to say the least. Especially a father-daughter dance scene when Tutar is menstruating.
But while some scenes are definitely ‘near the knuckle’, there’s no doubting that’s just the filling in the sandwich for Baron Cohen’s ‘smarts’ in uncovering political social taboos – and revealing some truly misguided perceptions in the American population.
For that it just about achieves its goal – even if you have to go through some astoundingly irreverent moments to get there.
Borat is definitely back – and just as hotly contentious as before.
ESP Rating: 3/5
Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Maria Bakalova, Dani Popescu & Tom Hanks
Running Time: 1 Hr 35 Mins
Director: Jason Woliner