Concluding my personal list of Oscar nominations with a look at the Best Supporting Actress race.
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Talk about a tough assignment for a debut film role. For her role as Borat’s feral daughter Tutar, Bakalova had to repeatedly improvise with no room for error, while playing off of Sacha Baron Cohen, one of the greatest improvisational talents in the world. She pulled that off with hilarious results, and found room to build a character we actually care about by the end of the film. All that and she had to share a hotel room with Rudy Giuliani at peak creepiness. Reward this woman!
[Note: This review contains spoilers, not so much of plot points, as there aren’t many, but of specific jokes in the film.]
All of the Brüno reviews I’ve read — whether positive or negative — have focused on how the film works as satire. Some praise Sacha Baron Cohen and director Larry Charles for dissecting the American obsession with fame and exploring homophobia while others suggest the film’s targets are far too simple for its message to be complex.
What I haven’t seen is any reviewer tackle the central question I believe this film asks of its audience: Is this funny? While I appreciate that Brüno and Borat make some points about society, they are first and foremost comedies. And I hate to lose sight of that in the quest for some deeper message. Because while Brüno might fail to change the world, it definitely won’t fail to make you laugh.