Borat remains among the funniest movies of the past fifteen years, not to mention one of the best mockumentaries ever. In an era where people are so easily offended, though, could a film like Borat be made today? Sacha Baron Cohen responds to this question with Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. To keep this review under a thousand words, let’s just call the sequel Borat Subsequent Moviefilm going forward. Borat is all about timing. On the heels of 9/11, the Iraq War, and two heated elections, the world needed Borat in 2006. In a year that’s brought us COVID-19 and the most stressful election of modern times, the word needs Borat again.
While this review won’t go into major spoiler territory, let’s address the “Jew egg” in the room. When the first film came out, Baron Cohen and his Borat character only had a modest following. Now they’re household names that (almost) everyone recognizes. How can Borat strike up interviews with strangers now? The filmmakers get around this by having Borat disguise himself. So, in many scenes, we get Baron Cohen playing Borat playing another character. Between this film and his Oscar-worthy performance in The Trial of the Chicago 7, we’re reminded how talented Baron Cohen truly is.
Borat isn’t alone either. On his trip back to the States, he’s accompanied by his teenage daughter played by newcomer Irina Nowak. The two are on a mission to restore glory to Kazakhstan by aligning themselves with America’s most powerful political figures. Much of the film was shot within the past year, meaning the commentary and satire couldn’t be more in the zeitgeist. While Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is every bit as politically incorrect as its predecessor, the main targets this time around are Trump supporters, anti-maskers, and ignorant people in general. As for the shenanigans Borat gets into, let’s just say that the Republican rally scene in the trailer isn’t even the most shocking act of trolling.
As funny as Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is, it’s not in the same league as its predecessor. There isn’t a scene that comes close to topping the naked wrestling match or kidnapping of Pamela Anderson. The first film had a fresh factor that no sequel could replicate. Even with this disadvantage, though, it is fun catching up with Borat, especially in a year as emotionally draining as 2020. Borat provides a much-needed laugh, allowing us to reflect on 2020 with smiles and cringes.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is very much a movie of the moment, leaving one to wonder how it will hold up in a year from now. Writing this review in October 2020, there are so many questions. Will Trump be reelected? Will we ever truly recover from the effects of COVID? Will the South ever accept science or the notion that Democracy isn’t America’s greatest threat? The answer to that last question is obviously no, but the other two remain up in the air. However things play out, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm will go down as an interesting time capsule. The question is if it will encapsulate a dark chapter in human history or the moment where this world officially went to hell… Sexy Time!
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm premieres exclusively on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, October 23, 2020.