The Beach House (2020) | SHUDDER
It’s been a minute since the last time we’ve seen Sacha Baron Cohen’s antics in a feature film. The last big comedy film with Cohen as the headliner was The Brothers Grimsby in 2016, and the last real world interaction film he created was all the way back in 2009 with Bruno. Cohen briefly brought back his unique humor to the small screen in 2018 with Who Is America? on Showtime. The series ran a limited run of seven episodes. So, it was due time to see his cringeworthy yet hysterical comedy make a comeback in a big way, and why not in 2020? Borat Subsequent Moviefilm may not live up to the original's shocking nature, but it still manages to be a hilarious and highly offensive film that the world really needs right now.
Jason Woliner takes the helm of the return of the iconic character Borat, and he does a fine job recreating the mayhem of the original. With directing credits under his belt for the likes of Parks and Recreation, Jon Benjamin Has A Van, Eagleheart, Nathan For You, and The Last Man on Earth, it’s clear that Woliner has a passion for oddball comedy. There’s nothing too outstanding about Woliner’s direction, but it’s the weird choices and mysterious methods of shooting the film that make you wonder just how this film was truly made. The way these films are shot in secrecy is a marvel in itself, and that deserves applause from everyone involved behind the scenes.
Borat, Bruno, and Ali G (I’m assuming, as I’ve never truly seen the entirety of Ali G) revolve around a minimal story outline, inflated with real world interaction while performing improv a vast majority of the time on screen. There’s a beginning, key moments that need to happen to keep the story moving, and a conclusion just like any other film, but it’s the way we get from point to point that differs drastically from the typical comedy released. The scenes aren’t rehearsed ahead of time and the reactions are raw and not truly written. The little bit of plot we do have works very well here, and similarly to the original is purposely offensive to try to garner a much larger reaction from the public. If you find Cohen’s work distasteful in any way then simply steer clear of the project, as there’s sincerely nothing here that will please you, but if you have an open mind and enjoy Cohen’s brutal form of comedy, then the highly political plot in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm might work for you, just as it did me.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Cohen’s improv has always been top notch material, as it makes you fall for the characters he absorbs himself into and makes them as real as they can possibly be. Borat is pure satire, but he feels like a character within the world we live in, and that's because how the "real" people act around him makes him seem so. Within Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, they implement a new crucial side character, Borat's daughter Sandra Jessica Parker Sagdiyev (Maria Bakalova) taking the spot from Ken Davitian's Azamat. The dynamic between Cohen and Bakalova is instantly amusing, and as we take on our journey with the duo, their relationship blossoms. The character of Sandra works extraordinarily well in the world of Borat; when paired with her father she is unbelievably funny, and when on her own she remains undeniably entertaining. Cohen is known to truly embody his characters during filming and the promotional period of the film, almost never breaking character even to sign autographs, so I'd like to think that Bakalova is just as invested as the camera moves away from her on screen.
As far as the known actors taking place in the film, it's absurd just how much bizarre and false information is thought throughout the population; some certainly won't shine brightly once seen in this limelight. The central focus of the film, and even the longer title of the movie, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan implies that this film is gonna get heavily political and the film is relentless in this regard.
Manages To Be A Hilarious And Highly Offensive Film
BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM (2020)
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006) had a very specific score to it, and one that if played outside of the film wouldn't be instantly recognizable, but once mentioning its source it would click. For Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, an identical score returns from composer Erran Baron Cohen and is boldly spread throughout, assisting scenes in their desired execution. Sometimes silence is the most cringe-inducing aspect of a film like this, but adding in music even slightly to justify the scene makes it a tad lighter in tone and elevates the comedy within.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is a “very nice” follow-up that will please many fans of the original. The comedy certainly won't win anyone over, but it's a brilliant satire of the very real world we currently live in, especially here in the U.S. and A.
BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM - Streaming On PRIME VIDEO (10/23)
Apart from a few scenes to set up and conclude the plot, every location is real; this is easily recognizable throughout the film. Visually, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm feels similar to the first, with a man in an oversized suit playing a prank on people first and having the plot be secondary, except this time the appearance of Borat is known around the globe. To combat this problem Borat purchases a vast variety of costumes at a Halloween centric store in order to become unrecognizable among the average American. These wardrobe changes throughout the film are incredibly funny, but they do take a departure from the Borat character every time they appear, with it seeming less like Borat and more like Cohen creating a character on the spot. On the other hand, the appearance of Sandra Jessica Parker Sagdiyev evolving throughout the film from a literal caged unmarried young woman to a semi-successful reporter that has gained a strong feminist mentality was a fascinating trek through outfits and makeup changing her into an entirely different woman without wearing a literal costume.