Does the new ‘Borat’ movie live up to the original?

This image released by Amazon Studios shows Sacha Baron Cohen in a scene from “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” Photo by Amazon Studios via AP.

In 2006, Sacha Baron Cohen’s mockumentary comedy “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” was released to wide critical and box office success. In the film, Cohen portrays Borat Sagdiyev, a fictional racist, antisemitic, and misogynistic Kazakhstani reporter who is sent to the United States by his government to make a documentary about American culture. The movie contains many unscripted segments in which Borat talks to unsuspecting Americans with the goal of getting them to admit their own bigoted views by first stating his. The film quickly gained a cult following, cementing itself as an undeniable comedy classic. In addition to being laugh-out-loud funny, “Borat” serves as an atypical analysis of American culture. 

With similar goals in mind, the follow-up to this cult classic, “Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm” has been released on Amazon Prime Video. At the beginning of the movie, the audience learns that the events of the first film have brought great shame to the nation of Kazakhstan. Borat has spent the past 14 years in the gulag as punishment for putting the documentary together. After coming to an agreement with the Premier of Kazakhstan, Borat is released from the gulag and sent back to the United States with the mission of delivering his 15-year-old daughter, Tutar (Maria Bakalova), as a gift to Vice President Mike Pence in order to mend relations between the two countries. 

One important detail that separates this movie from the first is Tutar’s role in the plot. The majority of the unscripted segments of the film revolve around the process of getting Tutar ready to marry a rich and powerful American man, with the shock value coming from the amount of real people that are not only willing but also eager to aid in this process. Throughout the movie, Cohen and Bakalova work together to confront people with this insane scenario and see how they react to it. The presence of Borat’s daughter makes a great addition to these pranks. The two actors are able to play off of each other extremely well and succeed in creating many hilariously uncomfortable scenes. 

The movie’s plot is admittedly sloppy. There are several scripted scenes intended to provide exposition to the improvisational portions of the film by showing conversations between Borat and Tutar. These scenes were clearly written after the other footage was shot as a way to tie the movie together. Although the plot is not airtight, these scenes are still just as funny as the rest of the movie. Cohesive storytelling is not really the point of the “Borat” movies. The humor and political satire are more important and, in those aspects, the film does not disappoint. 

Considering the overwhelming success of its predecessor, “Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm” had a lot to live up to. Thankfully, the real-life interactions in the movie are every bit as absurd and whimsical as in the original. This movie will keep you laughing out loud from start to finish. 

Rating: 4/5 stars 

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