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REVIEW: Borat's daughter absolutely steals the show in the long-awaited sequel

By Rory Cashin

October 21, 2020 at 4:59pm

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Borat 2 features an interview with a high profile American politician that is going to be talked about for WEEKS.

In the 14 years since the first Borat movie was released, the world has changed. A lot. Sasha Baron Cohen's creation back in 2006 had a very different America to make fun of, prodding at the inherent racism and xenophobia and sexism and homophobia of a country that prides itself on democracy.

The writers of VEEP had previously said that they couldn't come up with comedy situations any more heightened than have occurred under the presidency of Donald Trump, and it is something that the sequel to Borat definitely struggles with, too. It isn't until the movie almost removes Borat from the story entirely that it truly finds its feet, but before we get to that, we've to catch up with Borat himself.

Since the first "documentary" made Kazakhstan a worldwide laughing stock, Borat has been in prison. However, with the arrival of President Trump in America, he has been released in the hopes of setting up a new relationship between the two nations. Once he arrives in the States, he realises that his daughter (newcomer Maria Bakalova) has stowed away, and against his better judgement, he takes her along on his new political adventures.

The introduction of a female protagonist allows Cohen and his director Jason Woliner (best known for directing TV comedies like Parks & Rec and What We Do in the Shadows) into a new spectrum of uncomfortable comedy, such as the scene where Borat's daughter accidentally swallows a tiny plastic baby and they head to religious-run women's health clinic in order to "get the baby out of her".

It is one of many jaw-dropping set-ups that will have you laughing with hands over your eyes, the awkwardness of the American public caught in Borat's affable crosshairs, doing nothing more than being as American as they can be. It all builds up towards an interaction with a high profile American politician (we won't spoil which one) that is destined to be talked about in opinion pieces for weeks and months to come.

Where the sequel misses is when it goes big (such as the scene in the trailer with Borat arriving at a Mike Pence rally dressed as Trump), or when it leaves Borat alone for too long. Some of the jokes work brilliantly when they're low-key and subtle, such as a long, drawn-out conversation via fax machine, but some others (Borat as a country and western singer) run out of steam pretty quickly.

The surprise of Borat is gone, something he mentions himself when he keeps getting noticed on the street, which probably explains the pivot to his daughter. And thankfully, and this can't be stressed enough, Maria Bakalova is an absolute revelation. We don't know where she has come from, but we can't wait to see where she is going next, because she is overflowing with comedic skill, and whenever Borat 2 focuses on her, the film is definitely at its scathing, wince-inducing best.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm arrives exclusively on Prime Video from Friday, October 23.

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