‘Who Is America?’ Blu-Ray Review: Sacha Baron Cohen’s Prankfest Amazes Again
Who Is America? is the latest political satire by Sacha Baron Cohen of Borat fame. As with his usual endeavors, Cohen took care to invite pertinent figures. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Jason Spencer, whose political career ended following his vulgar appearance on the show, are merely a fraction of the guests interviewed.
WHO IS AMERICA? BLU-RAY REVIEW
If you’re familiar with Cohen’s previous works, you’re roughly familiar with Who Is America?‘s premise. If you’re not, Who Is America?’s opening — which juxtaposes Donald Trump’s infamous mocking of disabled New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski with iconic presidential moments like Ronald Reagan’s “Tear down this wall!” — swiftly communicates the idea.
Cohen, under the guise of his characters, meets and interviews people, some of whom are famous and some are everyday folk. None of his guests are in on the joke and few of them seem to realize they’re being pranked, meaning the humor comes from seeing them react and try to process Cohen’s antics. Cohen portrays an entire roster of stereotypes this time, which does add diversity to the program and demonstrates his range. Unfortunately, it also spreads his talents too thin; not every character has the material to carry their sections.
Of the cast, Erran Morad and Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr. are consistently the most entertaining. According to Erran’s fictional history, he hails from the Israeli military and he works to pass on his knowledge and unorthodox techniques onto volunteers. These eccentric situations are the show’s most memorable bits, bringing unwitting participants through anti-terrorist training exercises and missions. His interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney is also a highlight. Conversely, although Cohen’s quirks as Billy are comparatively one-note, seeing him, a Trump supporting conspiracy theorist, grill his guests endures as an amusing sight.
Who Is America? is split between two Blu-ray discs, with the first four episodes on the first disc with the final three on the second. All of the bonus features also reside on the latter disc, and there’s over 14 minutes of deleted scenes to enjoy. Also included are extended looks at his interviews with Cheney and Sheriff Joe Arpaio as well as Cohen’s “Megamosque” segment as far-left “self-hating white male” Dr. Nira Cain-N’Degeocello.