For all the talk of Giuliani and Pence, the real reason “Borat” works is its exposing of America’s casual misogyny, thanks to a masterful performance from newcomer Maria Bakalova.
This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.
The Reason Borat Works Isn’t Actually Borat
Who had the Borat sequel on their list of possibilities for an October surprise?
By now you’ve likely heard about the film’s shocking Rudy Giuliani segment, one of those all-time great exposés that make it seem as if the floor and your jaw are magnetized.
The Trump toad agrees to be interviewed by an attractive, blonde foreign journalist. He giddily flirts with her, accompanies her into a hotel bedroom after the interview for a drink, lies on the bed, and starts to reach for his penis (one can only imagine what he had in mind) when star Sacha Baron Cohen bursts in to stop the escalating situation.
“Rudy, Trump would be disappoint, you are leaving hotel without golden shower!” Borat shouts after him as Giuliani retreats, his hand literally caught in his pants.
There’s been a bit of talk over whether critics who were given an early preview to Borat Subsequent Movie Film, the sequel coming 14 years after the original comedy, ruined things by spoiling the unbelievable scene. It’s true that there’s no accounting for the out-of-body experience of watching the Giuliani sequence unaware of the horror to come. But there’s an argument that the scene is news, not a spoiler, and needed to be reported on as soon as possible.
But here’s the real surprise: It’s not even the most shocking, or most searingly relevant, accomplishment of the film.
Borat Subsequent Movie Film introduces actress Maria Bakalova as Tutar, the 15-year-old daughter of Cohen’s notorious lead character. She’s the movie’s secret weapon (actually secret; the studio went so far as to call Bakalova by a fake name in early press notes in order to keep her identity hidden), and, in truth, the only reason why it works.
Borat Subsequent Movie Film could have been a tired retread of lazy gotcha moments; who needs a mustachioed buffoon to pull the curtain back on America’s intrinsic racism when these people are telling on themselves every day?