October 26, 2020
Amazon Prime Video;
Rated ‘R’ for pervasive strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, and language.
Stars Sacha Baron Cohen, Maria Bakalova, Dani Popescu.
The hilarious sequel to one of 2006’s most-surprising hits sees the return of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat character, the wildly inappropriate journalist from Kazakhstan who constantly challenges America’s cultural taboos.
In this long-awaited follow-up, we learn Borat was thrown into prison as punishment for the worldwide humiliation Kazakhstan endured from the first film. However, hoping to get in the good graces of President Donald Trump, Kazakhstan’s prime minister frees Borat and sends him on a mission to deliver a bribe to a U.S. government official.
The gift in question? Borat’s own daughter, Tutar (newcomer Maria Bakalova), who wants to become the next Melania.
Borat’s first objective is to deliver her to Vice President Michael Pence, which he attempts to do by crashing a conservative conference dressed as Trump. When that doesn’t work, he sets his sights on delivering her to Rudy Guiliani, leading to the much hyped and overblown scene of her interviewing him in a hotel room.
Cohen is up to his usual on-camera shtick of acting the fool to elicit awkward responses from people he’s not too fond of politically. With the Borat character now widely known as a result of the previous film, he has taken to wearing a series of disguises to hide his identity.
From this setup, a couple of subplots emerge. The first finds Borat growing closer to his daughter as she becomes wowed by the wonders of America. The second is Borat dealing with the growing coronavirus pandemic, which serves as the primary backdrop for the film and provides some surprising cameos and plot twists.
Bakalova gives a spirited performance as what amounts to a younger, female version of Borat, and the father-daughter relationship turns out to be kind of sweet, despite all the inappropriate things they say and do in public. As with the first movie, the filmmakers’ willingness to do anything to upend polite society leads to a lot of laughs, but nothing touches the uproarious levels of the naked hotel fight from the first movie (which led me to literally fall out of my chair in the theater from laughter).
The arrival of the sequel also serves as a reminder that an American Blu-ray release of the original film is long overdue.