Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm

By Joanna Langfield

Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat follow-up is as almost as astonishing as his first, with not just how’d-he-get-away-with-that fearlessness but now with the extra added bonus of political as well as societal urgency. Oh. And Rudy Guliani.

Borat returns as the fourth best journalist from rural Kazakhstan, sent on a mission to the United States, in order to bribe his country’s way into favor. His neglected teenage daughter smuggles herself into the US to meet him and assist in this all important mission. Soon, a desperate Borat realizes the best bribe he can offer the heroic Michael Pence, a man so virile he cannot be alone in a room with a woman, is said daughter, Touta, who, let’s face it, is, at 15, the oldest unmarried female in his hometown anyway. So, you know, win/win. A makeover ensues, enlisting social media, debutante and plastic surgery advisors until a wonderful local, played with great love by the actress Luenell, sets Touta straight about a thing or two.

Cohen prances his way through all of this with glee and determination, tackling subjects like QAnon, Covid, feminism, anti-Semitism, Facebook, and sexual harassment with gasp inducing laughs. But the secret weapon here is Maria Bakalova, a Bulgarian actress who not just keeps up with Cohen’s daredevil improvisation, but manages to do it all while also getting us to actually care about her character. We watch, with horror and hoots of laughter, as she and the uniquely talented Cohen remind us of just where we are, right now.