Borat 2 is finally here, after Sacha Baron Cohen launched the second coming of the fictional Kazakhstani journalist with little warning.
And, according to punters, it’s just as outrageous as the 2006 first outing.
With two rather lengthy titles, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, and Borat Gift of Sexy Monkey to Vice Premier Mikhael Pence for Make Benefit Recently Diminished Nation of Kazakhstan, it appears what has simply come to be known as Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, or Borat 2, has tickled punters to no end after it became available on Amazon Prime today.
The film centres on Baron Cohen’s Borat Sagdiyev and picks up fourteen years after the release of Borat, where the now-disgraced reporter once again journeys to the United States in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and the 2020 elections – this time with his daughter Tutar (played by Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova) by his side.
From crashing far-right gun rallies, bunkering down with QAnon conspiracists, chasing Mike Pence while dressed as Donald Trump and a rather controversial run-in with former New York mayor Rudy Guiliani, there is a lot to unpack.
While reviews for the film went live mid-week, the response from fans and viewers is strong in the air on Friday morning, with many who watched it immediately after it launched hailing the sequel better than the first (adversely, others are saying it doesn’t hold a candle to the original, so swings and roundabouts, we guess).
We smell a spin-off…
Seth Meyers was a big fan, as he wrote on Twitter: ‘No one is more in the pocket than @SachaBaronCohen as Borat but goddamn if Maria Bakalova doesn’t hold her own and then some #Borat2.’
Empire’s John Nugent awarded it four out of five stars, as he added: ‘Some stunts feel like they’re there to stall for time (Borat cuts a man’s hair! Borat is confused by smartphones!), and one exchange with an actual Holocaust survivor feels a little misjudged, but otherwise it’s remarkable how much the film packs in, and how it manages to spin plates between ridiculous crudeness, pulse-quickening shock tactics, and pointed political commentary.
‘Cohen’s total fearlessness as a performer is still really something to behold — the man sometimes wore a bulletproof vest to make this film — matched only by Bakalova’s instantly winning improvisational skills.’
Nicholas Barber, of the BBC, hailed the film as ‘fascinating and urgently satirical’, adding: ‘Having been made with a specific political purpose, Subsequent MovieFilm won’t age as well as the previous Borat did. Whereas that one will stand as an evergreen comedy, this one might be as ephemeral as a newspaper’s editorial cartoon or an episode of Spitting Image.
‘But it’s the ripped-from-the-headlines relevance that makes it so fascinating, and it’s the boiling rage at current politics that makes it so bracing. There aren’t many films as urgently satirical as this one.’
Johnny Oleksinski of the New York Post noted (giving the film three out of four): ‘The race to the White House, a pandemic, a divided populace. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm checks off all of those headlines, but in a manner much too plotted and deliberate.’
And Variety’s Peter Debruge added in his review: ‘Frankly, nothing the comedic actor has done since “Borat” has had quite the same impact, so it’s a relief that the “Subsequent Moviefilm” is no dashed-off affair, but a parody on par with the original. Granted, audiences have a better idea of what to expect now, and the shaky camerawork and extreme attempts to make even scripted bits look spontaneous distract more than they add in the year 2020.
‘But Borat has lost none of his bite, treading that same fine line between sophomoric humor and pointed political satire.’
Borat 2 is available on Amazon Prime Video now.
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