As if 2020 could not get any more ridiculously insane, on October 23rd the eagerly awaited Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (Borat 2) was released on Amazon Prime. Produced by and starring Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat 2 follows the mockumentary comedy style of the original Borat, while focusing on the current safety and political standing of the United States. If that doesn’t sound entertaining to you, I don’t know what will! Similarly to the original Borat, the sequel is just as disturbingly funny and inappropriate. What elevates Borat 2 is the involvement with current issues in the U.S. and the underlying message to vote. Sacha Baron Cohen’s comedic masterpiece is a sharp tool for exposing the most erroneous and repugnant corners of American Culture.
If you haven’t seen the original Borat (which I highly recommend you do), Borat Sagdiyev is a journalist and television personality who travels to the United States from his home country of Kazakhstan. In the U.S., Borat has a difficult time adapting to American culture and ends up humiliating his home country. The plot of Borat 2 picks up where the original Borat left off – Borat being imprisoned in Kazakhstan after disgracing his country. The prime minister of Kazakhstan releases Borat at the beginning of the film, requiring him to go on a mission to deliver a gift to President Donald Trump in an attempt to redeem the nation. Instead, Borat decides to give the gift to Vice President Mike Pence since he did not leave off on good terms with Trump. Before leaving for his second journey to America, Borat discovers that he has a fifteen-year-old daughter, Tutar, who is played by Maria Bakalova. Tutar secretly follows Borat to America, leading Borat to decide to offer her as the gift to Pence instead of the original gift, Johnny the Monkey.
Throughout the film, Borat tries to prepare Tutar for her giving away to Pence by getting her an extreme makeover. The father-daughter duo also get themselves involved in hilarious situations as they attempt to learn all about the current American political landscape and adapt to a changing world during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Borat introduces Tutar at a debutante ball in Georgia where the two obviously make fools of themselves. The best part is, the attendees do not know they are being filmed for Borat 2 and are beyond baffled by the way the actors behave. In another scene, Borat disguises himself as Trump and attempts to give Tutar to Pence at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Unsuccessful, he is escorted out by security. After this failed attempt, they decide to try to give Tutar to Rudy Giuliani instead. Tutar arranges an interview to seduce Giuliani, but going along with the style of this film, he has no idea that she is acting for a film and believes the interview is real. After the interview, Giuliani and Tutar proceed to a bedroom before Borat intervenes. While there are many scenes in the film that expose random people, this scene truly exposes a political figure and sheds him in a negative and quite disgusting light.
While the film is hilarious, it is also extremely controversial. Accompanied by the exposing of Giuliani, there are other candid and unconventional scenes. Some notable scenes are one when Borat attends Trump rallies at which most attendees are armed and engages in questionable conversations with opinionated people, and another where he visits a synagogue dressed as his version of a stereotypical Jew. Personally, I find some of this controversy to be important and eye-opening, as it allows us to see a variety of people’s genuine beliefs and feelings towards major issues in today’s society. Watching Borat interact with people at the Trump rally and hearing some of the things they believe allowed me to see into a part of America that I had not fully seen before. The beauty of this film is that most of the people being interviewed or interacted with have no idea that they are being featured in a mockumentary, so their answers are raw and honest. As my friends and I watched Borat 2 for the first time, we definitely felt uncomfortable and uneasy at points. But I believe this discomfort is necessary to gain viewer’s attention and open their eyes to current issues of American culture. Borat 2 brilliantly combines discomfort and humor to spread awareness and share messages that everyone should hear.
The film received praise from critics for Baron Cohen and Bakalova’s performances, as well as its commentary on American culture. As an unfamiliar face, Bakalova gives the film’s most scene-stealing performance. This is no surprise, as she was chosen for this role out of the 600 young women who auditioned. Furthermore, the commentary on American culture is both incredibly important and relevant in such a preposterous time. Not only does the film end on a black screen that reads “Vote,” but one of the movie posters pictures Borat wearing masks as articles of clothing and reads, “Wear a mask”. Sacha Baron Cohen’s ability to use comedy and ridiculous acts to enforce voting and the safety of others during this time is both impressive and inspiring. Catch Borat Subsequent Moviefilm on Amazon Prime today!
Cover photo: BroBible