Borat Subsequent Moviefilm Review


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By Graham Jones, Reporter

In 2006, actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen shocked audiences with his mockumentary film “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”. In the film, Cohen pretended to be a man named Borat from the country Kazakhstan visiting the United States of America for the first time. Throughout the film, Borat visits different places and people, doing outrageous things at each while the real people around him become hysterical watching him. The movie poked fun at multiple American traditions and beliefs, highlighting the absurdity of some of our country’s most common values. Now, just a little over a week before the 2020 presidential election, Borat returns in a sequel that is almost as insane as its predecessor.  


One of the aspects that made the original Borat film so hilarious was its blurring of reality and fiction. While some of the film’s comedic setups were put together by the film crew like the real bear that sits in the back of Borat’s ice cream truck, most of the film’s funniest scenes were completely real only relying on Cohen’s improvisational skills and real people’s reactions. At a point while watching the film, every setup and scenario seems so ridiculous that you give up trying to decipher what’s real or not. In “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”, the line is still blurred, but it’s for the worse. This is the sequel’s weakest element as the film’s fictional scenes become more obvious and easy to point out among the real scenes. These fabricated scenes are unfortunately not very funny and bring the whole film down when cut to. This may be due to a larger production team behind the scenes since the film as a whole feels far more produced than the original. That being said, the higher production of the sequel does not affect the real scenes that make up most of the film.


While the first film had its fair share of political commentary, the sequel is a far more politically charged film. Due to the times and political climate we are in, I find it impossible that “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” wouldn’t have more commentary than the original. The plot of the film follows Borat attempting to sell a monkey (and then his daughter) to America’s political higher-ups like Mike Pence and Rudy Giuliani in hopes of creating a positive relationship between the U.S.A. and his home country, Kazakhstan. This setup leads to some truly insane scenarios such as Borat dressing up as a Ku Klux Klan member to sneak into the Republican National Convention (RNC) and what will probably become the film’s most notorious scene in which attorney and ex-mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, is caught sticking his hand into his pants after being interviewed by Borat’s daughter. Sprinkled throughout is also scenes of Borat interacting just with other people, which often leads to awkward yet funny results. Despite Borat still being a barrel of laughs throughout the film, he is not the standout character by the end credits.

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The real star of “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” is Maria Bakalova as Borat’s daughter, Tutar. Tutar steals the show in almost every scene she is in, often exceeding Borat’s craziness. Her mix of physical and character comedy is laugh out loud funny and astounding from an acting perspective. The sequel also has a surprising amount of emotional weight to it thanks to the relationship between Borat and Tutar and the message that daughters can have just as good of a relationship with their fathers as sons can. The addition of Bakalova’s character also allows the film to have a major feminist theme throughout as Tutar slowly makes her way into becoming an activist and journalist after years of hearing sexist lies while living in Kazakhstan. Small heartfelt moments also pop up every once in a while, the best one in my opinion being a scene in a synagogue where a holocaust survivor confronts the anti-Semitic beliefs of Borat, which is a characteristic Borat rids himself of throughout the film.


“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” may not be as entertaining or funny as the original mockumentary, but it makes up for that in thoughtful moments and messages, something the 2006 film lacked. The sequel is still packed with laughs and jaw-dropping scenes of awkwardness that’ll be sure to make for a fun movie night. Though this may sound corny, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” is (in a Borat voice) “Very Nice!”