Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Film Review

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Sacha Baron Cohen claimed years ago that he had retired his Kazakh reporter character Borat, but if there was ever a good time to bring him back, it’s in this crazy 2020 we’re having.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, or to go by its full title: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan – is set 14 years after the events of the 2006 original comedy mockumentary. Borat’s first film has brought shame on Kazakhstan and to make amends, he is tasked with going back to America and delivering Johnny the Monkey, a local superstar, to political leaders to help rebuild their diplomatic relationship. However, Borat’s daughter Tutar (Maria Bakalova) takes the monkey’s place without Borat’s knowledge so he decides to gift her to the leaders instead. But because Borat has become so well-known in America, he must wear a variety of disguises to achieve his goal.

How you get on with this film will really depend on your knowledge of American politics and pop culture, but more importantly, your sense of humour. I really don’t get on well with cringe-inducing, awkward humour, and that is basically what Borat is all about, hence why I wasn’t a huge fan of the first film. The comedy is so offensive and politically incorrect at times that I found it deeply uncomfortable to watch.

The film is only an hour and 35 minutes but it felt so much longer. I wouldn’t say it outstayed its welcome though because it actually gets more interesting as it goes along, as Borat gets closer and closer to important political figures and gets involved in riskier stunts. The last half is where the headline-grabbing stuff really comes in, so if you get through the trying first half (which I really struggled with), you will be rewarded with some jaw-dropping scenes and pointed political commentary.

Borat 2 was deliberately designed to be released ahead of the US election on 3 November and it’s clear to see why. Some of the thoughts Republicans or far-right activists have is simply shocking and the film doesn’t make Mike Pence or Rudy Giuliani look good. The film also addresses topics such as women’s rights, anti-Semitism, and the coronavirus.

As ever, Baron Cohen should be applauded for his dedication to the role and improvising with subjects that appear without their knowledge. It would be interesting to know who was in on it and who wasn’t. He plays Borat in many different disguises and gets himself into really uncomfortable, risky situations. Bakalova as his daughter deserves praise too for throwing herself into this style of filmmaking as she leads some of the more awkward moments. Not breaking character in these situations must be tough.

Borat doesn’t have a particularly strong plot but I don’t think anybody expected it to – that’s not really the point. It basically just finds a way to cobble particular scenes together. I didn’t find it particularly funny, but I did laugh sometimes in an “oh, this is so uncomfortable” or “I can’t believe he just said that” kind of way.

Borat 2 was not an enjoyable viewing experience for me. Some scenes were so cringeworthy and awkward that I couldn’t cope with them and they felt quite painful to watch. However, I can appreciate what Baron Cohen has done to effectively lift the lid on American culture and politics.

Available on Amazon Prime Video from Friday 23rd October

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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