“Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” — which will henceforth be referred to as “Borat” — is a really great movie. I watched it again a few weeks ago, and while there are some jokes that haven’t aged well, it mostly still holds up. Even though it’s been a full 14 years since it premiered to the world, it remains hilarious, transgressive and endlessly quotable.
I didn’t really know what to feel when I heard there was going to be a sequel. Part of me was excited, but my Sacha Baron Cohen fix was mostly satisfied by his show “Who Is America?”, which came out a mere two years ago. I wasn’t so desperate for more that I would’ve enjoyed a mediocre follow-up. I didn’t think it would be bad, but I also wasn’t sure it would be all that good.
Oh my, was I wrong.
“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” — which will henceforth be referred to as “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” — stars Sacha Baron Cohen as former Kazakhstani reporter Borat Sagdiyev. The plot has Borat sent to the United States to deliver a monkey to Vice President Mike Pence in order to restore Kazakhstan’s reputation, which he tarnished with the release of the first “Borat.”
While on his journey, Borat meets a number of colorful characters. He has run-ins with politicians, conspiracy theorists and a seemingly infinite supply of President Donald Trump’s supporters. Like with the previous film, many of the people he encounters aren’t actors. In many cases, the reactions he’s getting are completely real.
And it’s glorious.
Just to get this out of the way, the technical parts are all totally fine. I don’t really have anything to praise about the way it’s filmed or cut, but I don’t have anything to complain about either. It’s all totally serviceable. Normally I’d consider that a flaw, but that’s not what I cared about when I turned on “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” I just wanted to laugh.
And laugh I did, because “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” is absolutely hilarious. I was a little concerned that the bits wouldn’t work anymore, but a lot of the jokes still feel fresh. Thankfully, the film takes full advantage of all the changes that have occurred in America over the last 14 years.
The premise is the same, with Cohen using a character in order to expose the ignorance and prejudice of normal Americans, but there’s a slightly new flavor this time around. While the political commentary in the first “Borat” wasn’t exactly nuanced, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” is much more in-your-face. I guess that could be considered a criticism, and sometimes it did get to be a little too much, but I generally didn’t mind because the movie was just so funny.
I don’t know how he does it, but Cohen manages to find the perfect subjects for these bits. I seriously don’t know how he managed to get some of the people he got, who range from followers of QAnon, a growing internet conspiracy theory, to a certain Republican politician by the name of Rudy Giuliani.
While a lot of the stuff that hasn’t aged well from the original has been removed, it’s still worth saying that people who didn’t find the first one funny probably won’t get much out of this one either. Some of the tougher jokes are gone, but it’s still the same type of humor. However, fans of the original will most definitely be satisfied.
Honestly, I am just glad that we now live in a world where “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” exists. In these dark times where hope is hard to come by, it’s important to find things that are worth hanging on to. And yeah, friends and family are great, but now they’re going to have to save a seat for Borat.