Follow-up film to the 2006 comedy centering on the real-life adventures of a fictional Kazakh television journalist named Borat.
If you’re not aware of who Borat Sagdiyez (Sacha Baren Cohen) is, he can easily be described as the world’s largest troll. It’s a title well deserved, and he’s full of random acts of ridiculousness that can’t help but be laughed at. Following the 2006 film debut of the character, Borat Sagdiyev is back again for a sequel with his trip to America, delivering endless pranks on random citizens. However, this time around he has a partner in crime, his daughter Tutar Sagdiyez (Maria Bakalova), and this power duo isn’t holding any punches and is making sure everyone around them is uncomfortable with their rude, crude yet funny behavior.
If you haven’t seen the original film you’re missing out, because it’s beyond hilarious! After seeing the trailer for the sequel, I had my doubts, not sure if the novelty had worn off after fourteen years of no activity from the character. I asked myself, “Will it still be funny?”, “Will the general public recognize the character, causing the jokes not to work?”, “A project like this can only be done once, so this may be a waste of time.” These are questions and thoughts that raced through my head in anticipation of this film’s release. Rest assured, those are concerns you don’t need to worry about, because this film delivers on all levels. I won’t go as far as saying it’s as funny as the first film, but it still delivers the goods by far.
What impressed me the most is how Cohen is able to stay in character for so long. Even when he’s not delivering a joke/prank amongst his peers, he never breaks stride. With me knowing it’s all not real, the illusion still fulfills me as an audience member. This works due to the story also fitting within the real world as we know it. If the Borat character was a real entity, the film addresses how a world would respond, especially during a second time around with this sequel. The plot within the story has a natural cohesiveness and is all organic, making it that much more palatable. Not only does it provide unrealistic stereotypes of Borat’s homeland Kazakhstan, it simultaneously shines a mirror reflection on how some foreigners may see America. Which I might add could be true, and one of the funniest things I’ve seen. The way the writing team infused this story with real-life current events from 2019-2020 was seamless. This is done so well that if you didn’t know Borat was a fictional character, you could realistically think this was a real thorough shot reality show from a visitor abroad.
Cohen is bold in his performance. Some of the stunts that he pulls out will leave your jaw on the floor. Partly because you’re laughing so hard, and the other because you’re so shocked. Unless clever editing was used (which I’m sure it was), it didn’t feel like any joke was taken too far or that any could potentially put someone in danger other than the titular character himself. It takes a ton of patience and dedication to pull this off as Cohen did. And while this role was done so well, the performance from his daughter in the film was just as good or even better. Adding an additional character that is a young teenage girl to this mayhem so we’re not getting a watered-down carbon copy of the previous film was a splendid idea. It created a level of innocence to the story that in some cases you feel sorry for. We live in a world where ignorance can be a setback, but it’s used in this film as a comedic device that works. It also added a level of heart to the film that I never would’ve dreamed of existing in this type of material. It made me care for the characters more, and their relationship, even if I knew it wasn’t real. This speaks volumes about the creative juices that were used during the film’s development.
Borat in all of its craziness was a stroke of comedic genius. This material and/or the character can be enjoyed in many ways with different ranges of expectations as well. Whether you’ve never heard of the character in the film and started watching from a glance or you’re completely in on the joke knowing that’s it’s all a prank, it’s hard not to appreciate. I hope to see another sequel someday, making a trilogy out of this franchise. It may take a while to develop a well-drawn out story, but if it’s anything like what we have here it’s for sure worth the wait.