Contrary to what the poster says, this isn’t a Borat movie, and I’ll explain why. To give context, the original “Borat” is my favorite comedy of all time, and it’s in my top 15 favorite movies of all time. I’ve seen it so many times that I can reenact it. The film didn’t pull any punches and wasn’t afraid to make fun of anyone or anything. Add the fact that Sacha Baron Cohen (who plays Borat) was absolutely fearless, and we get the most hilarious movie of all time (in my opinion). Therefore, I didn’t want a sequel, because I knew it would never be as good, and in this current time where the United States is extremely divided, I knew Cohen would get overly political and less offensive, and I was mostly correct.
“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” stars Sacha Baron Cohen and Maria Bakalova, and was directed by Jason Woliner. The plot is overly complicated for a “Borat” movie, but basically this film follows Borat as he returns to America to deliver a bribe to president (as of writing this) Donald Trump in order to bring honor to his home country Kazakhstan, which was humiliated due to the release of the original Borat movie. His daughter Tutar (Bakalova) ends up accompanying him and the two of them grow a loving bond with each other. If you aren’t familiar with the original “Borat,” that film and this new one are mockumentaries in which Sacha Baron Cohen interacts with real people instead of actors. So every reaction to Borat’s hijinks that isn’t from Cohen or Bakalova is completely authentic.
The reason why I previously wrote that this isn’t a Borat movie is the fact that Tutar has more screen time than him, or at least it feels that way. So anyone who saw the first one and loved it like I did, don’t go into this movie expecting a ton of Borat content, because you won’t be getting much. That said, I loved Bakalova’s performance as Tutar. She was able to go toe to toe with Cohen and she never got embarrassed, which is the key to this kind of comedy. She was really funny and knew how to push people into a corner and make situations as cringe-inducing as possible. However, the reason the character is detrimental has nothing to do with the actress. The problem is the movie steers away from humor a bit too much in order to craft a cliche story in which Tutar steals the spotlight from Borat, as she simply has more to do. What was fun about the original film was that there was a loosely crafted plot which was clearly made up as they went along. The story was its own joke, which worked out perfectly. I’m fine with adding more of a story, but not if it lessens other elements of the movie.
The movie was still hilarious at many points, and was definitely a thousand times funnier than the average boring comedy that comes out nowadays, but did it live up to the original? No, barely even close. I’m not saying it’s bad, because the movie has many great scenes that will make you belly laugh, but there aren’t any jokes that would make you stop breathing like the ones in the original film. However, there were some unique aspects to the movie that were really clever. For example, during the entire movie Borat has to disguise himself because of how famous he is due to the success of the last movie. It adds to the humor to see Borat in ridiculous disguises and try to pull off southern accents.
Even though the movie wasn’t as funny as the original, I would still be satisfied with it if it wasn’t for its abysmal ending. The ending starts off really clever and presents a hysterical situation, but then it absolutely dive bombs towards the last few minutes. I won’t spoil it, but I will say it partially ruins the Borat character by making him a lot more politically correct, which is the exact opposite of what makes him funny.
The addition of Maria Bakalova as Tutar was a welcome one and the movie was often sidesplitting, but it just didn’t feel like a Borat movie. So I’ll give it two grades. One as a film, and one as a Borat movie. I definitely recommend this movie to those who haven’t seen the first movie or saw it but didn’t love it, because they will probably like this movie quite a bit.
Film Grade: A-
Borat Sequel Grade: C