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New Escapist Column! On “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” and How “Borat” Has Changed Over 14 Years…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm last week, it seemed an interesting opportunity to take a look at the return of the Kazakh caricature, and examine how the character had shifted in the fourteen years since the release of Borat.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is the way in which it offers a much more conventional structure – and even character arc – than the original film. It’s a strange choice, particularly in the context of the film’s mockumentary sensibility and the outlandish nature of the character. However, it also illustrates how much the world has changed since the release of the original film. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm realises that the world has changed, so maybe Borat should as well.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

Non-Review Review: The Dictator

The obvious point of comparison for The Dictator would seem to be Borat or even Bruno. After all, the film reteams Sacha Baron Cohen with director Larry Charles, while providing a vehicle for exploring American society. However, The Dictator is a very different beast – it’s a much safer film, which is quite something to say about a film featuring a joke about “911 2012.” It is more conventional, more accessible, and more driven by a clearly focused narrative. In a way, it feels almost closer to Ali G in da House, only a lot funnier.

The Dictator is a very funny film, but it does feel like Cohen is a little more constrained than usual, a lot more rigidly structured. This lacks the sort of anarchic spirit that viewers have come to expect from Cohen, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it. Still, Cohen has a unique ability to blend offensive boundary-crossing with classic comedy, and The Dictator feels like a film that will have a broader appeal than his cult hits. Despite the abundance of jokes about male and female anatomy, I think this might be the first Sacha Baron Cohen film I would recommend to my parents.

Coming to America…

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