BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM: DELIVERY OF PRODIGIOUS BRIBE TO AMERICAN REGIME FOR MAKE BENEFIT ONCE GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN -- A Hilarious Return to Form for Sacha Baron Cohen
Review by Sean Boelman
Shot in secrecy during the pandemic, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan features Sacha Baron Cohen returning to his most iconic character to provide even more commentary on the current state of American affairs. And while the stunts aren’t nearly as funny this time around, the script has so much wit and heart that fans will be laughing hard regardless.
The film follows Kazakh journalist Borat Sagdiyev as he returns to the United States on a special mission, having been disgraced after his last cinematic outing brought shame to his home country and hoping to correct his wrong. Compared to his quest to find moviestar Pamela Anderson in the first movie, the story here is much more complex, but it still largely serves as a frame for the comedic moments.
As always, the film features Cohen in character as Borat interacting with real people. However, due to the success of the first movie, his antics have become more well-known, and as a result, his disguises become much more elaborate. This results in plenty of hilarious and ridiculous stunts, even if they aren’t quite as charming as the fish-out-of-water comedy that made the first one so beloved.
The film’s non-prank attempts at humor can be hit or miss. Thankfully, unlike a lot of other comedy sequels coming out long after their predecessors, the movie doesn’t get caught up in repeating the iconic original gags. But sadly, there just aren’t as many quotable one-liners here, even though the film is still very funny.
That said, the movie has even more of a political edge now. Cohen splits his targets between the Trump administration and the American public’s response to the COVID pandemic, and both are very funny. The latter allows Cohen to go all-in on the goofy and ignorant factor with his character, and the former delivers some truly punchy satire and even a big moment that will probably make the news.
It’s obviously great to get to see Cohen returning to his roots. His show Who is America? which takes a similarly political approach to his comedy, was divisive, only lasting one season, and his last few films before that, while funny, took a more conventional narrative approach. He is definitely at his best when working within the confines of an overall arc, but with the ability to do some absurd improvisation, and this is exactly what he needed to recapture that magic.
One of the most notable additions to this movie is the introduction of the character of Borat’s daughter. Although it isn’t quite a home run, it adds a lot more of a human element to the story in addition to Borat’s lovable nature. The attempts to poke fun at misogyny aren’t as effective as they could be, though, as they aren’t quite hard enough on the sexism that still exists in America.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is the rare distanced comedy sequel that actually lives up to its predecessor. And while each film has their own strengths and weaknesses, they are both refreshingly insightful and very very funny.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan streams on Amazon Prime beginning October 23.