Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm First Reviews: Predictably Offensive and Hilarious, but Also Surprisingly Sentimental

Critics say Sacha Baron Cohen is as outrageous as ever, but there's a surprising amount of heart in the film, and newcomer Maria Bakalova is a fantastic find.

by | October 22, 2020 | Comments

It’s been 14 years since the release of Borat, which was among the most acclaimed (91% on the Tomatometer) and highest-grossing movies of 2006, as well as an eventual Oscar nominee, and now we’re getting an unexpected sequel. Sacha Baron Cohen is back as the titular fake reporter from Kazakhstan in Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm, debuting this weekend exclusively on Amazon Prime.

Is it “very nice,” as he would say? Initial reviews indicate that yes, the follow-up mostly lives up to the original in its shock and hilarity while actually surprising viewers with its tenderness and especially a scene-stealing newcomer who plays Borat’s daughter.

Here’s what critics are saying about Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm:

Does it live up to the original?

Every bit as hysterically funny and shockingly outrageous as its predecessor.
– Doug Jamieson, The Jam Report

A laugh-out-loud-funny sequel that’s every bit the equal of — and arguably something more than — its 2006 predecessor.
– Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews

A hilarious endeavor not far removed from the hijinks and antics of its predecessor.
– Nate Adams, The Only Critic

A parody on par with the original… Borat has lost none of his bite.
– Peter Debruge, Variety

The rare comedy follow-up to equal the hilarity, and outraged power, of its predecessor.
– Nick Schager, The Daily Beast

It doesn’t have the full capacity to land like the original did, but it’s most definitely a worthy follow-up.
– Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend

Is Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm as good as the original? No. It’s certainly not. It isn’t really in the same league. But is that even really a fair question?
– Matt Oakes, Silver Screen Riot

Falls short of its imperfect but zeitgeist-grabbing 2006 predecessor in several ways.
– John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

Sacha Baron Cohen in Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm

(Photo by ©Amazon)

Is it more of the same?

Does Borat still say “mai waif,” and is it still funny? The answer, for the most part, is yes.
Jon Dieringer, Screen Slate

All you want to do is see Borat cause chaos…. When he does so, it’s still pretty spectacular.
Kyle Pinion, ScreenRex

The film is entertaining, but that’s what you’d expect from Cohen. However, the film can’t escape from its lack of originality.
Dewey Singleton, AwardsWatch

Borat 2 is largely the same design, slightly tweaked for a modern age, but never as politically or socially relevant as you’d expect.
Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist

How is it different?

It’s applied more purposefully and selectively this time around, with a partisan political bent absent from the original feature’s free-for-all offending.
Charles Bramesco, Little White Lies

More than half of the film’s gotcha scenes feature him donning cartoonishly “American” disguises… Even with this hindrance, Borat’s central gimmick continues to work astoundingly well.
Nick Schager, The Daily Beast

What elevates moments of the sequel above the original movie is that there are sketches that prove to be endearing.
Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy

There is actual heart in this film… It adds a compelling tonal complexity to the piece that also enhances the themes without getting in the way of the comedy.
Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend

Unlike the first movie, this outrageous sequel actually manages to show off the best [that humanity has to offer] as well.
Charlie Ridgeley,

Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm

(Photo by ©Amazon)

But is it different enough to convert new fans?

Offensive, frequently shocking and often breathtaking… for Borat fans, that’ll be very nice. For anyone else, you need to stay as far away as possible because it’s not for you.
Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy

There are a couple of cringe-worthy moments, depending on how much of Cohen’s crude humor you’re willing to put up with.
Matt Rodriguez, Shakefire

Is it funny?

I haven’t laughed this hard at a film in years… [It] contains one of the funniest sequences ever committed to film.
Doug Jamieson, The Jam Report

It’s every bit as nerve-wracking as it is funny, and it happens to be one of the funniest films in years.
Charlie Ridgeley,

Those on Cohen’s wavelength will savor each of these 96 minutes, with a joke rate that blows even Airplane! out of the water.
Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews

There’s no limit to how far Cohen will go, and while it’s funny, it’s also terrifying knowing that there are people out there who truly believe his character.
Matt Rodriguez, Shakefire

How is Maria Bakalova as Borat’s daughter?

Maria Bakalova is everything that the movie needs.
Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend

Matching Cohen for each pound of flesh, Bakalova is a revelation.
Matt Oakes, Silver Screen Riot

Brilliant… She brings a freshness that is sometimes lacking from Borat’s repeated catchphrases.
Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy

One of the most fearless performances in screen comedy history.
Charles Bramesco, Little White Lies

Baron Cohen’s film also contains a strong feminist message thanks to the introduction of the brilliant newcomer Marina Bakalova.
Linda Marric, The Jewish Chronicle

Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm

(Photo by ©Amazon)

Are the unscripted segments satisfying?

The film’s meat-and-potatoes candid camera stunts are more of a mixed bag.
Jon Dieringer, Screen Slate

Scripted scenes together don’t work quite as well as when they’re pranking people.
Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy

I found myself disappointed by the relative lack of Cohen’s unscripted brilliance.
Matt Oakes, Silver Screen Riot

The dispiriting truth is that Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm’s staged pranks can’t compete with our awful reality.
Josh Larsen, LarsenOnFilm

It’s important to acknowledge that in an era of deep fakes, it’s not always clear what Baron Cohen got away with and what has been shaped in the editing room.
Peter Debruge, Variety

What can you tell us about the ending?

The ending of the film is jaw-dropping. I’m not exaggerating when I say this. My mouth was absolutely agape… It’s a third act you’ve got to see to believe.
Kyle Pinion, ScreenRex

Nothing can prepare you for what they’ve delivered, particularly a riotous third act that genuinely left me in hysterics.
Doug Jamieson, The Jam Report

Watching it, your brain turns into an exclamation point.
Sonia Saraiya, Vanity Fair

The film’s climactic moment is like shooting fish in a barrel.
Adam Graham, Detroit News

Feels in bad taste, even by Borat’s standards… It’s the sequel’s big misstep and feels unnecessary.
Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy

Sacha Baron Cohen in Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm

Ryan Fujitani

Is Borat even relevant any more?

The George W. Bush era needed a Borat, and the Trump years make him painfully redundant.
John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

We don’t need Cohen to show us the underbelly anymore; you only need YouTube or a family dinner nowadays.
Matt Oakes, Silver Screen Riot

Baron Cohen delivers a biting satire that says more about the state of America than practically anything else this year… This is precisely the film we need right now.
Doug Jamieson, The Jam Report

It does go far enough to try and prove that even those we see as “too far gone” can have a change of mind and heart… We really should’ve listened to him the first time around.
Charlie Ridgeley,

Amid all of the insanity of 2020, it’s incredible that Borat 2 actually got made – and we’re lucky we did because it is the movie we need right now.
Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend

[It’s] exactly what we all need right now.
Linda Marric, The Jewish Chronicle

Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm will debut on Amazon Prime on October 26, 2020.

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