Anyone who ever said, “Is nice,” in a broad unidentifiable accent, or wore a bushy fake moustache or, horror of horrors, donned a fluorescent Mankini Swimsuit Thong for a day at the beach will need no introduction to Borat Sagdiyev. Fourteen years ago Kazakhstan’s most famous reporter, the comic creation of Sacha Baron Cohen, spawned a million Halloween costumes and ten times that in bad, inappropriate impressions.
Now, into a world of fake Borats, the real deal returns. “Borat Subsequent MovieFilm,” streaming exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, once again blurs the line between comedy and tragedy, reality and fiction.
The new movie begins with a chance for redemption. After the events of the first movie Borat was thrown into prison, an embarrassment to his country and family. His son is so ashamed he changed his name from Sagdiyev to Jeffrey Epstein. Only his daughter Tutar (Maria Bakalova) still talks with the family patriarch.
The action begins with Borat being released from prison, cleaned up and once again sent to “Yankeeland” on a mission. His job is to earn the respect of Donald Trump by giving the gift of a monkey to “Vice Premier Pence.” When Borat arrives though, the monkey is gone from its packing crate. In its place is Tutar. “My daughter is here,” Borat reports back to Kazakhstan. “Should I give her as a gift?”
Thus, begins the journey that will see Borat and Tutar meet with a real-life cast of characters that offers cringe worthy insight into Western culture. There’s an Instagram influencer who teaches Tutar to be submissive to increase her appeal to men. “You want them to like you so you can get money from them.” Then two MAGA men take Borat to a rally where he performs a country song—“Journalists! Who wants to inject them with the Wuhan flu? \ Chop them up like the Saudis do.”—that elicits cheers and straight-armed salutes from the crowd. And then there’s a debutant ball “fertility dance” that redefines the term OMG.
Those scenes are as nervy and squirmy as humour gets but the sequence everyone will be talking about sees a sit-down interview with Donald Trump’s handsy personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. It begins with Rudy asking, “Did you ever eat a bat?” and goes downhill from there. It is the most outrageous of the film’s several must-be-seen-to-be-believed moments.
It’s not often you can describe a comedy as nerve wracking but “Borat Subsequent MovieFilm” is that film. Baron Cohen’s audacious work is often hilarious but it is the danger that comes along with his stunts that pushes the material from funny to fearless. His work is “Candid Camera” with a sharp edge; a cutting satire that mixes real life undercover reporting with aggressive and often tasteless humour. It is both a high brow exposé of the dark underbelly of this American election year and a low brow comedy that will anything to make you laugh.
Just like the year it is being released “Borat Subsequent MovieFilm” is a chaotic, uncomfortable experience. It will make you laugh but is geared to also make you think.
Cue another round of bad Borat impressions.