Nobody has the idea that Sacha Baron Cohen has been cooking a follow-up to his shamelessly controversial yet hilarious shockumentary, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan as simply known as Borat (2006), until a few months before its release on Amazon Prime Video. When it arrives, it arrives as timely as possible bearing a predictably longer title than the predecessor, albeit eventually known simply as Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. As it arrives, it takes everybody by surprise by going where nobody has dared to think of.
The complete title gives a full-on hint of what’s been going in the sequel. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan might not be the catchiest title, but it has a clever angle —a headline that describes the narrative honestly and fluently (despite the occasional grammatical nonsense). The key take-out from the title is the notion that Kazakhstan might no longer be the same country from the last time we saw Cohen’s Borat returns home into. Yet, most importantly, the poignant vocabulary choice —using the word ‘regime’ alongside America— is brilliantly unprecedented. The whole movie is the gift from Cohen to the US government in the most unapologetic and candid means.
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Apparently, things have not been so well since Borat Sagdiyev returned from America as he’s been imprisoned ever since for humiliating Kazakhstan. However, when the country’s Premier deploys him for a mission to give the America ‘regime’ a national present for retaliation, Borat sets sail to America once again. This time, he’s accompanied unwittingly and reluctantly by his teenage daughter, Tutar Sagdiyev (Maria Bakalova). Nothing about his return is quite the same, except for Borat’s exhilaratingly gross attempt to blend into the life of America’s most ridiculous society.
Everything about this subsequent film is exceptionally meta and his return to the States, only when the country’s been led another president who loves media circus, adds to the brilliance . Borat, having been retired by Cohen back in 2007, is still a popular international icon —on-screen and off-screen. Cohen can’t pull the same stunt as he did before; consequently, he has to double-disguise as Borat and Borat’s alternate identities. The results are overwhelming and they always get you thinking: how did he shoot all those scenes —pranking high-caliber figure and getting away with it? From constant teases against bigoted Americans to the mockeries of Americans for downplaying COVID-19, from the infamous publicity stunt in Mike Pence’s rally to the ambush of Rudy Giuliani, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm never fails to amuse the audiences (if not provoking people with short fuse) with uncontrollable laughing moments or, simply, discomforting fun.
Cohen’s bulletproof performance is not the only thing that excels in this sequel. His seemingly invulnerable self-mockery can only be neutralized by newcomer, Balakova, who immediately clicks with Cohen and goes above and beyond to make her character a worthy addition to Borat’s universe. The scene where she accidentally eats a baby figure and the aftermath is probably Borat Subsequent Moviefilm‘s golden moment. Her impromptu performance, especially during the Giuliani ambush, shows just how versatile and bold she is to match Borat’s otherworldly charm.
The year is 2020 and it’s a strange year —the strangest in the recent history. And if now, fourteen years after his first American venture, Borat sets to make another mark, it is the perfect time and he’s leaving the mark perfectly. His whole adventure deserve a five-star laugh.