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Sunday, March 07, 2021

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Film Fridays: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

<p><em>Graphic by Carissa Gurgul</em></p>

Graphic by Carissa Gurgul

Editor’s Note: This review contains spoilers. The views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of The Collegian.

It’s finally here. After 14 years of waiting, the wacky and hilarious reporter from Kazakstan has returned to our screens and holds nothing back as he returns to the U.S.

“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” is filled with comedic jabs that almost knocked me out of my chair, but it also drags in other areas. The first movie documented Borat’s journey across the U.S to propose to former Baywatch star, Pamela Anderson. The subplots that filled its one hour and 26 minute run time were some of the most insane and controversial clips, making the original so memorable. Who hasn’t heard someone yell “great success” or “very nice” at one point in their life? 

But I think it’s because the first movie was so memorable that my expectations were a little too high, even though I went in not knowing what to expect. The film picks up 14 years after the first. Borat has brought great shame to his nation of Kazakhstan and has been serving time in prisons and working mines. His country officials then come to him asking him to travel to the U.S. again. Now, the official title of Borat Two may give it away, but after the initial plot goes awry, Borat plans to deliver his daughter, Tutar played brilliantly by newcomer Maria Bakalova, to top U.S. government officials, including Mike Pence and Rudy Giuliani in an effort to restore Kazakhstan to greatness. But of course, this is Borat and nothing is ever so simple.

Because the character of Borat became such a phenomenon after the first film, there was the question of how would Borat return to the U.S without people recognizing him and ruining the improv comedy that filled the original? The answer: Borat is now a celebrity and must wear disguises in order to hide from the public. If you’ve seen Sacha Baron Cohen, who portrays Borat, in other work, such as “Who is America?,” you know that he is a master of disguise and he doesn’t disappoint here. Ordinary people across the country seem to have no idea that they are talking to the legend that seemingly everyone knows about.

Yet what made the first film so great was its subtle commentary on controversial issues at the time such as homosexuality and race. In the sequel, Cohen still accomplishes this by focusing on more recent issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the divide that Donald Trump’s presidency has caused in the country. I have to give him credit for making some downright insane moments in the film while being surrounded by people who have just met him. The same meta-commentary is present here, but I did find myself getting slightly bored here and there during the film. 

If you’re looking for some classic Borat humor, this film is for you. Just don’t expect Oscar-worthy performances or a well-written story. It’s fun, witty and clever with how Borat gets into many of the situations where he thrives. Even though I may not have laughed at all the jokes, I’m sure those of you that have been waiting for 14 years won’t be disappointed.

"Borat Two" is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video. 

Contact features writer Quinn Humphrey at quinn.humphrey@richmond.edu.

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