Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest foray as Kazakhstan’s eccentric reporter is cringe-inducing, political, insane, and most importantly, hilarious. Much like 2006’s original film, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is everything you would expect it to be, if not more so. Almost every scene is packed to the brim with some of the wildest moments ever caught on film, as Cohen and director Jason Woliner blur the lines of what is real and what is fabricated, all while weaving together the makings of a brilliant comedy.
Not for the faint of heart, Borat includes some grotesque shock humor, at the expense of unsuspecting spectators, and some truly horrific subject matter when taken literally. Touching on everything from abortion to COVID-19, Borat’s latest most certainly welcomes the controversy, and the constant illusion (or disillusion) of who is in on the joke makes this a must-see comedy.
After returning home from his first excursion to America, Borat was sentenced to a lifetime of hard labor for embarrassing Kazakhstan. In a last-ditch effort to “get in” with the world’s powerful leaders, the President of Kazakhstan orders Borat to deliver one of the country’s most prized possessions, a celebrity monkey, to someone in Donald Trump’s inner circle: Mike Pence. Upon arrival to the “US and A,” Borat’s daughter, Tutar (Maria Bakalova), surprisingly replaces the prize monkey and joins her father on yet another trip through America.
The addition of Borat’s daughter makes for some interesting situations, and Bakalova does a wonderful job channeling her “inner Borat” to pull off some of the most awkward scenes ever filmed. Woliner and crew do a wonderful job trying to capture authentic and embarrassing interactions, and although some of these scenes are truly works of fiction, others are mind-numbingly authentic. When melded together, the movie flows perfectly, and the anticipation from scene to scene is palpable. There are moments documented in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm that are shocking to have made it into a major motion picture, and the public reaction may be as interesting as the movie itself.
The problem with this sequel is almost a necessary evil: its plot is not especially interesting and feels forced throughout the movie. The film is basically one awkward encounter after another, mixed with a ho-hum story to string everything along. Baron Cohen and his team of writers obviously focused on the real-world interactions, which is completely understandable, but it will likely give the audience a feeling of boredom in between all the laughs. Although bland, it is not all bad, as subtle jokes like a Disney-inspired Princess Melania cartoon and Borat’s completely bigoted ignorance help the picture flow along.
This movie is not for everyone, and viewers will likely know what they are getting into before they watch. For those who enjoy awkward, shocking, and provocative comedy, this film is worth your time. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is more akin to a sketch comedy show rather than a motion picture, but Sacha Baron Cohen makes sure you will not be disappointed. His commitment and dedication to the offensive and head-turning Borat is a masterwork.