26th Oct2020

‘Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm’ Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Sacha Baron Cohen, Maria Bakalova, Dani Popescu, Manuel Vieru, Miroslav Tolj, Alin Popa | Written by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Nina Pedrad | Directed by Jason Woliner

Back in the year of 2006, the world was given Borat: Cultural Learnings of America Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, and now, some fourteen years later, Sacha Baron Cohen has returned with a sequel, which landed on Amazon Prime on the 23rd of October. Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm follows Borat as he attempts to win back respect for his country after they became a laughing stock due to the first film. He goes to America to deliver a gift and win back the hearts of the US government. The gift? A genius monkey. The only problem is that Borat’s daughter, Tutar, has followed her father to America, eaten the monkey, and thrown the plan into jeopardy. Now the plan has changed, and Borat must attempt to give his daughter to Michael Pence as a way to make amends and try to gain back any respect that was lost for Kazakhstan.

I mean, it’s the classic tale of good versus evil, right? Or… a tale of a failed journalist with disturbing cultural beliefs who seeks to give his young daughter to the United States Vice President as a gift. Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm, like the first film, aims to point out the social and political issues that are being faced on a daily basis in our modern world, and does so with comedy, awkward moments and… lots of genitalia. Be it Trump, White Supremacy, Feminism or Coronovirus, this faces many themes head-on in its own specific way. The addition of Borat’s daughter, Tutar, as a character is a good thing, and pretty important too in terms of how the film works. Borat is a well-known character now, so having a new character on board allows for the film to play out. Borat himself wears disguises for much of the film, too, though it’s pretty hard to believe people wouldn’t think there was something fishy going on with Borat in a fat suit dressed as a cowboy. Tutar is played by Maria Bakalova, a Bulgarian actress who hasn’t done a great deal prior to this, but she’s very good in her role and throws herself into it muchlike Cohen. She’s wacky, naive and all the things that Borat is, and so it allows conversations with people to happen in which they believe that she is who she appears to be.

I struggle with my belief, much of the time, that a lot of this stuff isn’t staged, but it’s undeniable that at least SOME of what happens here is real. There’s a specific scene involving Rudy Giuliani that has already sparked controversy and was certainly not a fabricated situation. Oh dear.

There are the typical offensive comedy moments to be found in Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm, and the shock-comedy that has always been a trademark of Sacha Baron Cohen, but at the heart of the film is that original idea of poking the bear, of allowing ignorant people a platform to make themselves look even more stupid, and yes… There’s a bit of a story in here too. There’s actually more of a story here than the first film, with the relationship between father and daughter being explored in the most absurd manner. It’s the bizarre and awkward situations involving the public that sells the film, though, and there’s plenty of that going on. I, personally, find myself tiring of many of the jokes about women being weak and lowly, about Jewish people and the reliance on penises, but there’s some funny moments here still, and it will appeal to those who were fans of the original movie back in 2006. Perhaps a little too much at times, Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm does what it sets out to do. It gets people talking, and it has already, indeed, garnered a lot of attention. Bakalova is the best part here, and allows the film to feel less like a simple rehash of the first one. If you dig the character and liked that first feature film, then check this out too. You’ll dig it.

*** 3/5

Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm is out now on Amazon Prime.

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