What happened to Sacha Baron Cohen?
His 2006 comedy “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” shocked Hollywood. The box office smash served up a brilliant blend of “Candid Camera” pranks and scripted insanity.
Naked wrestling, anyone?
He followed that up with “Bruno,” drawing both diminished laughs and box office appeal. It’s been a slow, steady decline from there, with 2016’s “The Brothers Grimsby” snaring an anemic $6.8 million stateside.
He’s fared better in dramatic work, like the well-received series “The Spy,” but his comic side couldn’t live up to his “Borat” highlights.
Now, Cohen is bringing Borat back via a surprise sequel that sounds like an extension of Resistance TheaterTM. The Independent reports “Borat 2” will have an equally ponderous name, one with overt ties to Team Trump.
And, according to a filing with the Writer’s Guild of America (which has since been removed from its website), the sequel will be titled: Borat: Gift of Pornographic Monkey to Vice Premiere Mikhael Pence to Make Benefit Recently Diminished Nation of Kazakhstan.
It’s “Mikhael” Pence because the Trump administration colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election, remember? Has Cohen not read the news over the past few days, weeks or months? What about the Mueller Report?
Talk about stale comedy.
The notion of “Borat 2” sounds awful in the first place. Comic sequels are very tricky to pull off. Consider disasters like:
Zeitgeist comedy can’t be easily replicated.
That’s only part of the problem with another round of “Borat.” The character was virtually unknown back in 2006, so Cohen could pull off a series of pranks, in character, without getting noticed. That’s impossible now given the ubiquity of his lanky, bigoted Borat.
Cohen showed his willingness to be politically partisan with his poorly received “Who Is America?” Showtime series. That show mostly mocked right-of-center figures like former Vice President Dick Cheney and Trump advisor Corey Lewandowski.
He tried a similar stunt with Sarah Palin, but she saw through the shtick and the footage never aired.
Cohen doubled down on that partisan trend by sexualizing First Lady Melania Trump via “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
In between, Cohen rails against Fake News on Facebook … without grasping the folly of social media censorship.
It’s always possible a second “Borat” will defy expectations and revive Cohen’s comedy career. The early signs suggest otherwise.
UPDATE: Amazon Prime scooped up the rights to the “Borat” sequel and will debut the film Oct. 23.
The film’s official title now reads, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” dropping the Pence reference. The trailer does feature the Vice President, though. Pence himself is seen at this year’s CPAC convention in February, urging calm and caution regarding COVID-19.
At that time, the World Health Organization dramatically under-played the virus’s ability to spread and kill. It appears the “Borat” sequel will use Pence’s words, which were accurate at the time, against him.