EddyTheMartian’s review published on Letterboxd:
The greatest feminist film of the decade!
Who knew a Borat movie could be intense...
(No Spoilers) Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bride to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2020) is a sequel to the cultural phenomenon that was the first film, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006). I think it’s safe to say most of us never expected this movie to happen, let alone be secretly filmed and release just a couple of months after its announcement. I also think it is safe to assume that most of us didn’t think a sequel would be as good as the original. It would just be impossible to recapture the shocking satirical mockumentary that was the first one, but it’s almost as shocking a sequel would be made today with all the political correctness, cancel culture, etc. that has become so prevalent in today’s media. While this movie is definitely not as good as the original and some of its charm is lost since it has been already done before, and replicated, it still remains hilarious yet important.
Sacha Baron Cohen still owns the role perfectly being as believable as the current pandemic. There’s times where Sacha is acting as Borat, acting as an American, and it’s as impressive as it is hilarious. The surprise star is Maria Bakalova as Tutar, Borat’s daughter. When I first saw her character I was apprehensive as she seemed like she could become annoying fast, but she never was, and is the heart of the film. The movie definitely goes in cliched and predictable routes, despite the unpredictable pranks they pull, but they somehow make it work. This is definitely one of those movies I can see being even more divisive than the first. While the first was mostly loved it created a lot of controversy for its depiction of Kazakhstan, gross scenes, and its dark/offensive humor. Now add current day American politics, and a criticism of multiple hot button issues today, it will definitely leave some people sour. Plus, not everyone will enjoy the father daughter story if they’re mainly here for the funny pranks, but if you stick with the story it will be greatly rewarding.
This movie relies on shock humor so I won’t be spoiling anything here. A Borat sequel could’ve easily failed if it didn’t do a few things differently, and I think this movie succeeded. With Borat’s cultural impact we’ve already seen similar movies and even TV shows recreate it, most notably The Eric Andre Show (which is equally as hilarious in my opinion), so this movie makes the smart move of focusing a little more on the actual story and characters of the film. This allows for the movie to have more of an emotional impact, and even moments of tension. There’s a particular part where I found it to be genuinely intense. Maria Bakalova deserves insane praise for what she was able to accomplish going so deep into her role to even expose a real politician. We’ve heard about politicians doing these things for years, but seeing it happen, it was just gut wrenching. While the first film shows a broader view of US&A, this movie examines on a wider variety of topics and effectively criticizes them.
Borat, once again, and Tutar achieve much success giving us a powerful social commentary of our times, but it does have some issues. As I mentioned earlier the storyline and character arcs are cliched and predictable. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bride to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2020) simply isn’t as funny as the first film, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006). While it still had me consistently laughing out loud throughout, there wasn’t any moment where I was almost in tears from laughter like the first film. The social commentary works but isn’t as effective like the first time around where it genuinely caught us off guard and made us pause to examine ourselves. All of these issues have already been heavily criticized and satirized, so it isn’t as powerful as it could be. The first movie almost feels timeless, still applying to this day, but this movie focuses on issues (like COVID-19) right now that might not age well. There’s a fantastic unpredictable twist near the end of the movie that really adds to the story, but I found the the actual ending to be a bit too silly even for Borat, using tired jokes that have been said by everyone already.
Despite all these problems, I still had a great time. Did Borat 2 save 2020? No, I don’t think anything can, but it is certainly one of the only gifts to come from this unbelievable and wretched year. Overall, Borat 2 very nice, deserves High Five! It is the still hilarious satirical dark humor we need today more than ever. It exposes our society, while still having a heart, and with 2 fantastic lead performances. Thank you for reading my review. I hope you like. Dziekuje!