Follow-up film to the 2006 comedy centering on the real-life adventures of a fictional Kazakh television journalist named Borat.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Sacha Baron Cohen announced a sequel to his biggest hit ‘Borat’ had been filmed in secrecy and was ready for release, a revelation that makes more sense the more I think about it. What better time to revisit a character famed for exposing bigotry amidst a highly toxic election year in the United States, and who better than Baron Cohen to get to the heart of this topic. For full disclosure, I’m a massive Borat fan and have been a fan of Baron Cohen’s work way back to his original Channel 4 show, so I am the target audience for this, and it’s the kind of film I’ll struggle to assess through a critical eye, so if you’re looking for a nuanced critique, you’ll not get it here!
The premise of ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’ centres on Borat, who has been living in exile since the events of the first film, being brought out of this exile to deliver a gift from Kazakhstan to ‘Vice Premier Michael Pence’. This takes Borat back to the United States, where he is joined by his daughter Tutar (Maria Bakalova), who is seemingly as game as Baron Cohen for taking part in some of these outrageous stunts. What follows is a road movie similar to the first film, with Tutar replacing Ken Davitian’s Azamat Bagatov, with various segments where Baron Cohen and Bakalova encounter various people who are not shy in showcasing their ignorance. It is not nearly as good as the first film or the TV show and it follows a trend towards more shocking humour than subtlety, which is something I’d associate with much of Baron Cohen’s recent output, however I laughed a hell of a lot and Borat at half his best is better than the majority of other comic movies.
Like any movie that follows essentially a sketch formula, some moments work better than others, with the best (the overnight stay with two republicans and subsequent rally) more than making up for some of the weaker sections. The film builds towards a concluding sequence involving former mayor of New York, and now Trump lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, which you will likely have read about already, and it is one of the weaker parts of the film and falls more into the shock value category than the genuinely comedic. A lot of people will have preconceptions about this film, based both on your views on Baron Cohen’s comedic style and your political viewpoint, but all I can say is to leave your politic at the door and enjoy this for the ride that it is, because it’s definitely a blast and there’s no one else out there who does this type of thing as well as Sacha Baron Cohen does.
Directed By: Jason Woliner
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Maria Bakalova and Dani Popescu